Fonar Corp. (Melville, NY), a manufacturer of medical imaging equipment, is set to launch a series of television commercials to promote its Upright line of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems. Fonar has retained Leapfrog Advertising (New York City) to create and distribute the 30-second spots, which will run on national cable shows during both daytime and prime-time viewing hours.
“The Fonar Upright has immediate appeal to consumers, who respond very positively and are eager to talk to their physicians about it,” says Tom Attea, managing partner of Leapfrog Advertising. The agency reports that the number of scans and referring physicians went up dramatically in the markets where the introductory advertising ran. “The advertising also opened the door for the Fonar sales force and resulted in a number of MRI sales,” says Attea.
The commercials, which are expected to reach 23 million households across the country, depict what Fonar describes as “real-life patient experiences.” The spots tout the company's upright scanning technology—which is capable of scanning patients in a variety of sitting, standing, and lying positions—as being better able to detect diseases and disorders that may not show up in conventional scans in which patients are required to lie down.
With nearly 100 of its scanners installed across the country, Fonar reports that almost all potential MRI patients in the United States live within relatively close proximity to an Upright system, increasing its viability as a diagnostic option.
Fonar's Damadian: Taking it to the masses.
“We believe patients all across America are eager to adapt to the latest and most-effective healthcare treatments,” said Raymond Damadian, MD, president and founder of Fonar. “It is up to Fonar to bring this advanced technology to the attention of consumers, and this new advertising campaign marks the beginning of a long-term effort with our marketing partner, Leapfrog Advertising, to get the Upright MRI in front of consumers and build the Fonar brand on a national basis. Our large number of installed MRIs has made a national effort feasible for the first time.”
No stranger to consumer promotion, Fonar has previously run both radio and television ads in the New York metro market. In addition, the company maintains a fully operational MRI unit at the Islandia Mall in suburban Long Island. The company's efforts represent another example of the medtech industry's slow but steady advance in the realm of direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising, particularly in the orthopedic and imaging markets. Medtech's DTC efforts as a whole, however, remain dwarfed by those of the pharma industry.