Ad campaign promoting medical center ends Friday

by Joel Sawyer

Fairview Health System will end on Friday its first advertising campaign promoting the planned Riverside-University Medical Center.
The campaign features a single 30-second TV spot and shows doctors, nurses and patients walking through a hospital ward humming the Minnesota Rouser. The Rouser is the official University pep song.
The ad is designed to “celebrate how excited we are about the coming merger,” and to welcome University employees and the general public, said Mary Bensman, public relations manager for Fairview Health System.
The commercial ends with a voice-over that says: “The people of Fairview and the University of Minnesota will be teaming up to build a great new health network. It sounds like a great fit.”
Fairview and University officials are in the final stages of hammering out an agreement that will transfer the University Hospital and many of its assets to Fairview Health Systems for $87.5 million. The agreement should be finalized in the next few weeks.
The new medical center is scheduled to begin operation Jan. 1.
The commercial, developed by the Minneapolis advertising firm of Lynch Jarvis Jones, has aired statewide since Sept. 9. The $300,000 campaign has been shown on the major networks and CNN approximately four times daily during the morning, evening and late news.
University officials played no part in the development, production or financing of the commercial, although a team of administrators viewed and approved the final product.
Bensman said the commercial has been successful, even though some have mistaken it for a promotional spot for the NBC hospital drama “ER.” Bensman added that Fairview officials have no intention of expanding the campaign in the future.
The commercial was selected from several ideas circulated by Lynch Jarvis Jones. One proposed version depicted a group of dour-looking executives performing the wave around a conference table to celebrate the new medical center. The executives could have been University regents or Fairview officials, Bensman said.
Fairview and Lynch Jarvis Jones settled on the idea to use the Rouser because it is an evocative and powerful piece of music, Bensman said. The Rouser, written in 1909, is the song heard at University sporting events and includes the lyrics “rah, rah, rah for ski-u-mah.”