Revitalizing Catholic Health's LIFE Program


Michael Baron

Senior Vice President, Group Creative Director

When you think about advertising campaigns that call for boldness, not many (if any) focus on long-term care programs. But the truth is, deciding on care for an older loved one can be one of the most heart-wrenching decisions a family member can make. Unless it doesn’t have to be.

When our client-partners at Catholic Health mentioned creating a new campaign for their LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) program, we knew it would need to be as unique as the program itself. You see, the goal of LIFE—which is a Medicare- and Medicaid-sponsored PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program—is to give seniors every opportunity to age in place. In other words, at home. While still providing them with access to comprehensive, coordinated health care and socialization opportunities that are usually associated with nursing homes—all at a fraction of the cost.

Looking at competitive facilities, we noticed that messaging was largely coming from the facility and directly addressing prospective participants, promising engaging activities and a strong sense of community. But research tells us older adults aren’t always the ones making the decisions. In fact, it’s often an adult child who strongly influences the decision, as they may currently be the caregiver. For people like them, the LIFE program promises peace of mind that their loved can stay in their home longer, while still getting the care and socialization they need. It also means they get to avoid the dreaded “nursing-home conversation.”

We decided to craft our campaign from the adult caregiver’s perspective, allowing us to better address the anxiety and fears caregivers might be experiencing with these decisions—and ultimately the relief they would feel by choosing the LIFE program. We reinforced that messaging with a distinct visual treatment—using still photography to bring more of a storytelling aspect to our television campaign.

“Photographing actual program participants conveyed an authenticity that staged shots couldn’t capture,” said Jeff Hopper, creative director/art at Mower. Being genuine in this type of communication is critical, so we made the choice to forego a full shoot setup, too. This meant our photographer, Walter Smith, was able to blend in seamlessly. “It’s an approach that doesn’t rely on contrived or overly posed shots, and it’s also a cost-effective one,” Hopper added.

For Catholic Health and the LIFE program, being bold in our strategy, messaging and execution has led to the most referrals in one month—and in the history—of the program. It’s also been a great reminder to all of us about the overwhelming power of empathy. Not just for the older adults experiencing this transition—but for those caregivers around them.

Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.

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