TV ad by Florida Hospital features 18 cancer survivors
When the Florida Hospital marketing team sat down with 22squared — the advertising firm that makes those tear-jerker Publix holiday commercials — the conversation somehow led to bells.
Florida Hospital and its parent company, Adventist Health System, are changing their name to AdventHealth and are at the middle of a major rebranding campaign. The health system has already rolled out commercials about the name change but wanted to do something a little different during the holidays.
It’s an odd time for a hospital system to launch a major commercial. It’s a busy season for shopping ads, and health-care organizations usually take a back seat, said Sharon Line Clary, vice president of marketing at Florida Hospital.
“But we decided to take a different stance. We wanted to celebrate life,” she said.
The team’s conversation with their new advertising partner eventually led to bells during the holidays, “and we said bells mean something different in health care. They signal the end of cancer treatment,” said Clary.
And it caught on from there.
The final product is a commercial that features survivors ringing the bell at the hospital at the end of their cancer treatment and later, ringing handbells as part of a choir.
Eighteen cancer survivors from Adventist Health System hospitals across the nation were brought together in October. Under the direction of a conductor, they learned to read music, play the bells and perform the song in four days.
“We'd go verse by verse and built it up from there,” said Grayson Zrelak of Orlando, who at 13 was one of the youngest members of the choir. “In the next couple of days, we learned the whole song. And then we started playing all together. If we struggled, we did it again.”
Grayson was 10 years old when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He went into remission, but two years later, his cancer came back. He had surgery and a stem cell transplant.
“And after that, I went through 22 rounds of radiation. And today, I’m in remission,” he said.
The commercial doesn’t show the AdventHealth brand until the end, nor does it mention the brand transition from Florida Hospital.
“It was intentional to have the brand at the end and focus on the survivors . ... This is a holiday special and [the branding] is more subtle,” said Clary.
The filming was done at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in October and last week the survivors and their families were brought together again in Orlando to see the final product.
“It's really awesome. Very inspirational . ... It was emotional and you could see all of us ringing the bell,” Grayson said.
“I hope the [commercial] inspires others and shows that we survived and gives a huge message all over the world that we’re not the only ones. Everyone has a family member who’s been affected by cancer and it needs to end,” said Grayson, who wants to be a speaker when he grows up to inspire others.
Silent Night by The AdventHealth Survivor Bell Choir is available for 99 cents on iTunes, Google Play and Amazon. All proceeds go to benefit cancer efforts at A.dventHealth, according to the health system.
As part of its rebranding campaign, Florida Hospital rolled out a commercial this week, featuring 18 cancer survivors who were brought together in Orlando to form a bell choir. They learned over four days to play a Chrismas song.