Spring Branch Medical Center
HCA Spring Branch Medical Center (SBMC) needed to overcome a long-standing mental barrier that revented the hospital from pulling residents “across the railroad tracks” to the hospital and medical professionals. SBMC contracted Ward to bring affluent, insured Memorial-area residents, particularly female healthcare decision-makers, across the Katy Freeway railroad tracks in Houston to their hospital. Ward reached the target audience by executing two seminar events that would draw them to the then-HCA-owned hospital. The agency chose to tie into national concerns of childcare by having the client host a free, bilingual nanny seminar that addressed the concerns
of affluent mothers entrusting their children to the care of nannies, many of whom spoke limited English. The agency also developed Babysitter Olympics, a fun, role-playing teen event geared to foster discussion and interaction with physicians about the business of babysitting. The strategy of the event was to help influence the target audience indirectly through their children‟s experience. The event, which tied into the Barcelona Summer Olympics, incorporated games such as a "Diaper-A-Thon‟ and a life-size game board.
More than 200 childcare providers and mothers (the family‟s primary healthcare decision maker) attended the Nanny Seminar, so many that it was repeated due to high demand. Turnout for the Babysitter Olympics was double the number of teenage girls anticipated –
exceeding more than 100 participants. In a short questionnaire, more than 90 percent of the mothers of babysitter Olympians indicated they were not aware of the nearby facility and its services prior to the event invitation delivered by direct mail. As an unexpected outcome, within a week of the seminar 60 appointments were made to see physicians for various reasons by the girls, their families or related family members. And coverage of both events by local media
broadened the reach.