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They say if you can't put your message across in nine words or less, outdoor is not your medium. But if you can say it fast and clever -- and marry it to an eye-catching, high-impact visual -- there are few more powerful communications tools than outdoor. From the freeway super-spectacular to the bus shelter on a residential street, outdoor advertising is a potent method of raising awareness quickly and broadly, and a memorable way to establish your position in prospects' minds.

Despite its obvious constraints, we think we've done some of our best work in outdoor. Below is just one sample, but if you're interested, we'd like to show you more.

Downey Community Hospital

As Downey Community Hospital put the finishing touches on their new $6 million Heart Center, they faced a problem that went far beyond merely bringing together and installing all the latest technology for cardiac care.

They had a marketing problem.

In order to run it's new facility profitably, the respected but little-known DCH would be in direct competition for patients with some of the region's best known cardiac care units. And while addressing the community was one aspect, the critical issue was in gaining acceptance among Southern California cardiologists.

When Ripley-Woodbury became involved, we identified raising awareness as the key issue. But there were other issues as well: building credibility among cardiologists to gain crucial patient referrals, recruiting OR and critical-care nurses and gaining support from the community.

State of the Heart Care The centerpiece of the Heart Center's campaign was the theme, "State-of-the-heart care", showcased on a 16' x 12' billboard with a three-dimensional anatomically correct heart... a heart which actually appeared to beat.

Recognizing the news value of the billboard as a vehicle to publicize the new facility, R-W planned a press conference around its public debut. Several of the area newspapers, radio and television stations covered the event.

While the beating heart billboard was slowing traffic on the major "arteries", Ripley-Woodbury was coordinating a direct mail campaign to area cardiologists, a trade ad campaign designed to recruit nurses, and a newspaper advertising and direct mail program to Downey residents.

The campaign was extraordinarily successful. Within four weeks of the Heart Center's opening it was at 95% capacity with every prospect of continuing referrals. Publicity about the beating heart billboard continued long after its five month showing. It was featured in numerous magazines and newspaper articles and was a finalist in the prestigious OBIE awards for outdoor advertising and given special mention in a book published in Canada called, The Great Outdoors.