Sharing the stories ‘Behind the Mask’

HCA Healthcare Houston nurses who treat COVID-19 patients were the stars of a multifaceted campaign that won the Best in Show Award in the 2021 Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards.

The 13-hospital system received gold prizes in the print and social media categories, silver in the integrated campaign category, and bronze in video. 

Featuring close-up black-and-white photographs of masked nurses and telling their personal pandemic stories, the “Behind the Mask” campaign sought to support the system’s nurses by showing their day-to-day reality.The campaign targeted external audiences via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, the statewide Texas Monthly magazine and a YouTube video. The health system’s employees were engaged through a “care recognition” campaign that collected and shared stories about caregiving during a pandemic.

“We wanted to display what’s really motivating them and the support they have to make them successful in taking care of our patients and our communities through this horrible pandemic,” said Sean Burnett, vice president of marketing and corporate affairs for HCA’s Houston division. “It highlights their bravery and courage, yes, but it also shows some of their vulnerability and the strain they are under.”

Feedback from the Texas Monthly staff confirmed that the print ads engaged the magazine’s print and online readers. “They were overwhelmed with the number of responses they received, and the shares and likes on their digital platforms around these stories,” Burnett said.

The campaign’s success was its ability to engage readers and viewers, as measured by the amount of time they lingered with online content. “Folks were staying seven-and-a-half, up to 10 minutes on a page, which means they were staying to read the whole story,” he said. “That’s a true testament to the strength of the writing, but it’s the story itself that’s always the magic bullet.”

Lola Butcher is a freelance writer based in Springfield, Missouri.

Healthcare Marketing Impact Awards – 2021

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