A recent series of ads for cataracts surgery in the monthly AARP magazine attracted my attention (yes, I am a proud member of the baby boom generation). The ad campaign is a collaboration between Alcon, which sells surgical and vision care products, and AARP Media Sales, which handles their print and digital media.
I first saw the ad in the monthly AARP Magazine and then saw an article entitled “The Truth About Cataracts and Cataract Surgery”, when comparing auto insurance prices online. The similar content of the article and the timing was more than a coincidence. The campaign is an example of “content marketing”, a marketing trend that abandons hard-sell tactics in favor of informative messages.
A spokesman for Alcon explains the marketing strategy, as reported in the New York Times: “Typically, our marketing efforts have been geared to professional audiences,” says Seba Leoni, vice president and general manager at Alcon. “Rarely do we go to consumers. This is a first-of-a-kind campaign.”
Leon explains that the collaboration with AARP is “for focused objectives aimed at driving awareness, to inform and educate about available options for cataract surgery.”
The “slice-of-life” style ads show an older man or woman holding a framed family photo of their father. The headline reads: “This is not your father’s cataract surgery” (If that sounds familiar – think Oldsmobile ads, ca. 1990). The $3 million campaign includes a website landing page and digital display ads.
The organizations researched strategies for the marketing campaign. Attitudes of one thousand ARRP members were surveyed, with 14 percent admitting they had concerns about the surgery.
“Vision health is a top priority for seniors”, Leoni says, “and they are generally aware about cataracts, but may not know about all the treatment options available today.”