A benefactor brings Northwell to the big game

A still from Northwell Health's Super Bowl commercial, which celebrates the birth of the system's new name.

Northwell Health is going to the Super Bowl.

The former North Shore-LIJ Health System will shine a big spotlight on its new “Look North” advertising campaign with a series of commercials during Sunday’ NFL championship: a brand-new 30-second spot during the second quarter and two 30-second spots, rerunning a previous ad, during the marathon pregame coverage.

Those 30 in-game seconds are precious indeed, but not quite as expensive as the $5 million CBS is charging for 30 seconds of national air (an 11 percent jump from the $4.5 million NBC collected during Super Bowl XLIX in 2015).

Terry Lynam, Northwell Health’s vice president of communications, wouldn’t say how much the health system paid for its regional slot during Super Bowl 50, which will beam to viewers in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. But Lynam did suggest a formula to figure it out.

Backtracking from those national $5 million slots, which can reach an estimated 114 million viewers, Lynam noted the regional slot brings a potential audience of 8 million viewers, “so do the math.”

(And you’re on your own here.)

Whatever it cost, Northwell Health’s 30 seconds of fame comes courtesy of an anonymous donation from a health system trustee – a tremendous opportunity to spread the word, noted Senior Vice President Ramon Soto.

“As the most-watched event on American television, the Super Bowl is a powerful venue to tell our story of innovation,” said Soto, Northwell Health’s chief marketing officer.

The opportunity actually grew larger while the health system was negotiating with CBS over that in-game slot. According to Lynam, as part of the deal for the plum second-quarter placement, CBS “threw in the two pregame spots.”

“That was kind of an add-on,” he told Innovate LI. “So we got a really good deal out of it.”

Northwell Health has been running 30-second TV spots regionally since New Year’s Day. The first, featuring the very first birth in a Northwell hospital after the health system switched over from North Shore-LIJ at midnight Jan. 1, ran until mid-January.

The second Northwell ad, which has been circulating for three weeks, will run twice during the pregame coverage. It highlights innovations fostered by some of the health system’s 61,000 employees, including new research into electronic implants and the creation of a “No-Pass Zone” prohibiting all hospital staffers – from doctors to nurses to administrators – from passing a room with a lit call light without checking on the patient.

The in-game ad will be a premier. Featuring previously unaired footage shot just seconds after midnight Jan. 1, the commercial shows more of the first babies born under the Northwell flag, being embraced by their mothers; it also recounts the health system’s impressive delivery statistics: 42,000 babies per year, accounting for about 17 percent of all New York State births and 1 percent of national deliveries.

The ads were created by J. Walter Thompson New York, the Manhattan agency behind the health system’s rebranding and the “Look North” tagline.

Broadcasted on New Year’s Day within hours of the very first Northwell birth, that first ad has been subsequently viewed more than 2 million times on Northwell’s various social media channels – exactly the emotional chord Northwell is looking to strike, according to Soto.

The new campaign, the senior VP noted, is a clear departure from traditional healthcare advertising, which “features testimonials of patients who’ve recovered from disease.”

“Our new ad conveys our commitment to caring for these precious newborns and their families throughout their lifetimes,” Soto said. “Where others may see them as just newborn babies, we see people who we will be looking after and keeping healthy their whole lives.

“This is truly a celebration of life,” he added.