Brackets, Basketball & Vasectomies and Vasectomy Reversals – A Case Study in Marketing to Men

It seems like March Madness has taken over the world, or at least the Internet, this week. Millions of brackets are being played and billions of dollars betted. The first weekend offered its fair share of surprises. While 12 over five seed upsets are common every year, how many of you had Florida Gulf Coast making it to the Sweet 16?

Companies have sought to develop unique marketing ideas to reach the billions of people watching the NCAA tournament each year. One concept that’s really exploded virally recently is the increase in vasectomies performed during the tournament. Guys now have an excuse to watch a couple of days of games – getting snipped.

Women traditionally drive health care decisions. There’s a reason why health insurance and hospital ads appeal to a feminine point-of-view. But men still represent an important demographic for the industry. And sports, when combined with just a little bit of humor, are a great avenue to reach men.

Over the past two years, TBG has set out to see just what would happen if we promoted the availability of vasectomy and vasectomy reversals at The Urology Center of Colorado (TUCC) during March Madness. We began the 2012 campaign with a six-week campaign on The FAN Sports Radio. Humorous scripts were developed to get a guy’s attention immediately. Who wouldn’t perk up after hearing:

"Research shows that five out of four guys prefer to schedule their vasectomies during March Madness or is the shot clock winding down on your opportunity to have your vasectomy reversed?"

The campaign was supplemented with a sponsorship of The FAN’s bracket challenge and earned media opportunities. CBS4 and 7News aired stories with Dr. Jesse Mills, men’s health specialist at TUCC, and a patient who specifically timed his vasectomy to the start of the NCAA tournament. This year, the vasectomy scripts were updated and voiced over by a FAN producer who scheduled his own procedure at TUCC.

The success of a campaign like this depends on a client being able to have fun and not take everything so seriously. Dr. Mills is always encouraging TBG to push the envelope when it comes to branding his expertise. Case in point, his recent interview on The DRIVE where he gamely provided an overview of a vasectomy, his surgery on the show’s producer and offered up his own bracket predictions. He was so in tune with the hosts that they believed he offered the best “celebrity” bracket breakdown of the 2013 tournament! This segment promoted Dr. Mills’ expertise as a surgeon and humanized him as a guy who cares just as much about his bracket as the “average Joe”.

At the end of the day, a campaign can be outside of the box, but it needs to show strong return on investment. In 2012, TUCC saw a one-third increase in the number of vasectomies performed in March over its typical month-to-month procedure volume. And during the first month of the 2013 campaign, 52 request an appointment submissions have been submitted through the TUCC website to schedule vasectomy and vasectomy reversals. Web traffic is also up 20 percent.

So I guess what they say is true, laughter – combined with sports – really is the best medicine. At least when it comes to getting guys to take action when it comes to their health.   

Maggie Spain