American Medical Association Launches $60M Campaign To Improve Image, Increase Membership
The American Medical Association on Thursday announced that it will launch a $60 million marketing campaign designed to improve the group's image and increase membership through "heartstring-tugging ads that portray doctors as 'everyday heroes,'" the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports (Tanner, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/16). The campaign, which will run over the next three years, will be a combination of print, television and radio advertisements, as well as marketing videos to attract more physicians to join the group, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The ads also will feature stories from physicians and their patients with the taglines, "Together we are stronger" and "Helping doctors help patients," according to the Tribune. The ads will seek to show how AMA works with physicians to change policies, such as by increasing Medicare payments. Other ads will emphasize patient care and science (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 6/17).
AMA represents about one-fourth of the nearly one million physicians and medical students in the United States. AMA has lost members over the last five years, with 2004 membership totaling 244,530, a decrease of nearly 6,000 members from 2003, according to an AMA report (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/16). The membership declines in large part have resulted from physician apathy and an increase in popularity of specialty societies, according to the Tribune.
The debut of the first print ads will coincide with AMA's annual meeting in Chicago, which begins Saturday and runs through Wednesday. "This is not just a little wrinkle at the AMA," John Nelson, the association's president, said. He called the campaign "very aggressive and hard-hitting," adding, "This campaign highlights the AMA's commitment to unify all physicians and shape the future of health care" (Japsen, Chicago Tribune, 6/17).
Sidney Wolfe of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen said, "Doctors know that they are doing wonderful things. We can have a profound impact on people's lives. But they would have to go a long way to paint the [AMA] as heroes" (AP/Las Vegas Sun, 6/16).