4 Healthcare Advertisement Archetypes

By | Published March 4th, 2022 | in Healthcare, Industries

4 Healthcare Advertisement Archetypes

In marketing, there are certain kinds of stories that will get the audience to sit up and pay attention – which is why these four modes of storytelling are used most often in healthcare campaigns. 

These storytelling archetypes are often (and best) used in combination with one another. In utilizing more than one strategy, you can cover more bases. Here at Ambient Skies we like to employ this technique to make your healthcare ad relatable and memorable. 

Without further adieu, here are the four most common story archetypes we see in healthcare advertising. 

1.Consumer Identification

This is the kind of story that actually uncovers who you’re trying to connect with. Who is your consumer base? They can be commercials that start with “Do you ever feel like…” or “Have you been suffering with….?”

Your story starts with the identification, then takes the consumer through a story of how their product can make it better. Maybe it’s about delivering energy or more concentration, but once you have the consumer identified, you play to their needs and give them a happy ending. 

A great example of this is this 5-Hour Energy commercial. 

2. Conflict Resolution

These kinds of stories are about a problem. Maybe you have a breathing disease and it’s pollen season … or maybe there’s a lot of stairs to climb and you have arthritis. This kind of story focuses on someone overcoming hurdles.  

There is some delicacy required for these types of stories because you don’t want to present a conflict that is too overwhelming or seemingly intractable. You want to reel your audience in with lovable characters they want to see succeed. 

A fine example would be this campaign from CoxHealth trying to get seniors feeling better. 

3. Inspirational 

Nothing feels better than a little inspiration. Healthcare marketing, at its core, is problem-solving. Inspirational ads usually tackle a huge problem. This is often accomplished through dramatization with actors or animated characters, but sometimes with real people, using a documentary style approach.

Check out this animated commercial about breast cancer survivors. It combines several tactics to become an inspirational tale. 

4. Case Studies or Real Patient Stories

Case studies really stand out in the marketing world because they distill everything we love about stories and commercials and apply it directly to one person. This one person’s struggles can illuminate an issue that has wide-spread recognition, or conversely, can shine light on a less understood problem. 

The importance of case studies in storytelling cannot be overstated. They’re an incredible way to show the world real patients dealing with relatable problems. They incorporate the other three kinds of stories as well. They can be inspirational, they can show how a conflict is resolved, and they can identify the consumers who may have similar circumstances. 

A creative example of this type of story is Merck’s “With Love, Me” campaign video that features real cancer survivors reading a letter they would write to themselves (if they could)  on the day they received their diagnosis. This example breaks the mold a bit by presenting multiple real patients but incorporates almost each healthcare story type. 

Have you thought about what type or combination of story types would best fit your advertising needs? We have been working with our healthcare clients on creative strategy for more than 15 years and would love to hear your questions! 


Who Are We?

Ambient Skies is a full service entertainment production company focused on creative storytelling for commercials, documentaries, and narratives.

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John Schaus