MH Apology Ad_fnl


What do you do when a vendor’s error creates a potential PR crisis that needs, at the very least, an apology?

If you’re Monroe Hospital, you turn to the partner you know can help turn an embarrassing gaffe into an opportunity for brand-building transparency.

In 2009 Monroe Hospital, just outside Bloomington, Indiana, was a brand-new facility. Residents responded well. Patient traffic was steady and ticking up. Campaigns for various service lines produced interest and appointments.

The apology that turned a PR crisis into a defining moment.

Then one day callers to the Monroe switchboard found themselves connected to an adult entertainment service. Throughout the morning, at least two dozen callers experienced an awkward and disconcerting moment.

Had they misdialed? Those who redialed reexperienced a doubly awkward moment.

Did Monroe change their number? No, but just-released local phone directories listed the wrong one.

While the error was out of Monroe’s control, it wasn’t a good look. The facility had opened its doors less than a year before.

My advice? Address the problem head-on, quickly, with an apology that was more explanation. The agency got this ad, one of several, in the paper the day after Monroe called for help.

Initially, the client was concerned the tongue-in-cheek tone might seem inappropriate given the conservative nature of healthcare and their newness on the scene.

However, in keeping with the unconventional yet approachable tone of voice the agency created for Monroe, in the end, they agreed the lighthearted touch was the way to go.

The “Apology” ad generated positive press in local broadcast and became a moment that helped define the brand and diffuse a PR crisis. It also spurred the client’s digital team to be sure all hospital contact information was up to date on all public touch points.

In this situation, hospital outcomes don’t get better than that.