Published 3/1/2010
Frank B. Kelly, MD

Academy launches new “Heroes” campaign

Campaign is a reminder of the impact of orthopaedic care

In 1998, the AAOS surveyed the public to find out how much they really knew about the specialty of orthopaedics. The findings confirmed our assumptions: People don’t know much about who an orthopaedic surgeon is or what an orthopaedic surgeon does.

As a result, the Academy launched a comprehensive public relations program to educate the public about the role of orthopaedic surgeons and raise the visibility of the orthopaedic specialty. Now, more than a decade later, research shows that the public’s familiarity with our work has increased. In addition, AAOS members believe that patients view orthopaedic surgeons more as “providers of musculoskeletal care including surgery” than simply as “surgical specialists for musculoskeletal disorders.”

But even though the public’s image of orthopaedic surgeons has improved, we still have work to do. In the 2008 survey, for example, only 55 percent of public respondents said that orthopaedic surgeons were “caring and compassionate,” and only about two-thirds rated orthopaedic surgeons as having “successful medical results.”

The “Heroes” campaign
The goal of the new advertising campaign—the “Heroes” campaign—is to address these issues. It delivers the message that orthopaedic surgeons are both skilled and compassionate. What combination could be more important to our patients?

The Heroes campaign ads were designed to illustrate the positive impact that orthopaedic treatment can have on patients’ lives. Each ad depicts someone who was treated for a musculoskeletal condition holding a photo of an orthopaedic surgeon. The headline for each ad reflects the impact of that treatment.

For example, the headline of one ad, which features an individual in a baseball uniform, reads “Sometimes, your team’s MVP wears an entirely different uniform.” The copy discusses the impact that orthopaedic advances have had on getting players back in the game. An image of a young girl, arm in a cast, is headlined “Not all superheroes wear capes”; the text discusses the advances in musculoskeletal care for pediatric patients.

These ads show the American public the most important result of our work: how our patients feel after treatment. Our patients are the reason we practice medicine, and this campaign is a chance to remind them—as well as ourselves and the general public—how important their good health is to us.

The AAOS Heroes campaign ads are in addition to the Academy’s regular series of public service advertisements (PSAs), which were introduced at the 2010 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Each year, these television, radio, and print ads appear in media outlets, airports, and train stations across the country, generating more than $9 million in free advertising time and space. Watch for them!

Personalize the ads and promote your practice
The AAOS Heroes campaign ads will be printed as postcards, posters, and easel backs and will also appear as on-site advertising in airports throughout the country. You can order a free supply of postcards, posters, and easel backs for your practice from the Academy.

In addition, you can download both the postcards and posters directly from your own computer. The downloadable ads include space to add your practice information and logo. Visit www.aaos.org/heroes for electronic files that you can personalize, print, and start using today.

Frank B. Kelly, MD, is the chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet. He can be reached at fkelly@forsythstreetortho.com