GE Healthcare targets consumer audience in new campaign

NEW YORK: GE Healthcare, a traditionally b-to-b company, has undertaken a large-scale, direct-to-consumer campaign to build awareness of its diagnostic and imaging technology.

NEW YORK: GE Healthcare, a traditionally b-to-b company, has undertaken a large-scale, direct-to-consumer campaign to build awareness of its diagnostic and imaging technology.

"This is an unusual campaign for us," said Deirdre Latour, director of PR for GE, adding that the effort is unparalleled for GE both in its scale and in its scope.

The company makes products used in disease prevention and diagnosis, including ultrasound and molecular imaging technology. Although these machines are sold directly to healthcare providers and medical centers, GE Healthcare is hoping to raise awareness of its healthcare division among lay audiences, who are most familiar with the company's household appliances.

But the underlying theme of the campaign is to also communicate about GE's vision of how to transform the healthcare system from one that treats disease to one that prevents it.

The interactive campaign kicked off Friday April 7 to correspond with World Health Day. The plan was to stage a "takeover" of seven digital billboards in Times Square.

GE began preparing for the campaign with the launch of its "Picture a Healthy World" website, where visitors could upload stories and photos about how they stay healthy. That content is being broadcast on the Times Square billboards.

The "Healthcare Re-imagined" campaign is being promoted through national advertising as well as print and broadcast media outreach. GE is handling all PR activities in-house.

"Our message is about early health – it's about prevention and diagnosis," Latour said. "It's about how you keep yourself healthy."

The company will stress both the personal and economic benefits of treating disease before it progresses.

GE will also work with Broadway actors to have them share how they keep healthy. In addition, it is partnering with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS for an in-theater promotion that will reach 30,000 theatergoers.

The company will also put street teams on the ground to encourage people walking through Times Square to share their own stories and photos on the digital billboards. A photo studio will be set up on Military Island.

Individuals can also visit to Military Island to take an amusement park-style ride through the human heart.

Latour noted that GE also plans to extend the campaign globally with similar "takeovers" in Paris and London.

"At the core of this transformation is a shift from treating late stage disease to a focus on 'early health' where pre-symptomatic disease detection, prevention, and information management are critical," Latour said. "So the Times Square event will allow us to communicate directly to consumers what Healthcare Re-Imagined means to GE."

Internal communications to the company's 320,000 employees will similarly talk about the company's healthcare benefits and how to maximize their own health.

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