On New Year's Day, Northwell Health will air the sequel...

On New Year's Day, Northwell Health will air the sequel to a commercial that helped launch its rebranding campaign a year ago. Credit: Northwell Health

Northwell Health, the sprawling 21-hospital health care system based in New Hyde Park, on New Year’s Day will air the sequel to a commercial that helped launch its rebranding campaign a year ago.

The health care giant, formerly known as North Shore-LIJ, filmed several births shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, 2016, including that of Austin Joseph Sparacio at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

The original commercial drew parallels to the birth of the Franklin Square child and the birth of Northwell Health. The sequel, scheduled to run the first 10 days of January, continues that link, celebrating the first birthday of Austin Joseph and the brand.

“We thought that this Austin Joseph spot, his first birthday, was a wonderful metaphor,” said Ramon Soto, chief marketing and communications officer at Northwell.

Leora Halpern Lanz, who teaches marketing at Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, said her classes screened the Northwell commercial for its emotional appeal. She said that the health care system must reach out to consumers to keep pace with rivals in the New York market.

“The competition is out there,” she said. “They have to market themselves to cut through the clutter.”

Soto said that Northwell’s marketing budget for 2017 would be $12 million to $15 million, in line with 2016 and similar to the budgets of competitors like NewYork-Presbyterian, NYU Langone and Memorial Sloan Kettering. Before the rebranding effort, the health care system’s marketing budget was $2 million to $3 million, he said.

“We need to be competitive,” he said. “Health care systems are trying to attract customers.”

Soto said that based on responses to a monthly tracking study of more than 2,000 consumers in Northwell’s core markets of Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties and the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, awareness of the new brand has surpassed levels attained by North Shore-LIJ. The study was done by National Research Corp., a market research firm based in Lincoln, Nebraska.

In core markets overall, awareness of the Northwell brand is over 42 percent, he said, while in its home market of Long Island, awareness reached 68 percent.

“We’re probably six months to a year ahead of where I thought we’d be on the awareness front,” Soto said.

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Austin Joseph Sparacio was one of more than 40,000 babies delivered at Northwell hospitals in 2016.

Commercials featuring the 1-year-old are scheduled to air during “The Apprentice,” “The Middle,” “The Goldbergs,” “Saturday Night Live,” “NCIS,” “Kevin Can Wait,” and “Master Chef.”

With 61,000 employees, Northwell is New York State’s largest private employer.

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