The Challenge

Surrounded by bigger players. And seriously outspent.

If ever there was a challenger brand in healthcare, it’s Middlesex Health. Surrounded by three larger systems – one with a national reputation – Middlesex is routinely outspent by orders of magnitude. Further complicating the picture, these large competitors are in aggressive acquisition mode, buying up smaller hospitals in order to move into more and more communities. 

The Insight

Our big pivot? Getting emotional.

We decided to explore something that not too many healthcare brands tend to consider: emotion. Most health care systems, we found, insist on telling a technical story, touting doctors’ credentials, or highlighting clinical research. These can be hard for consumers to grasp. Those brands are also missing out on something huge: There’s emotion in taking care of people. There’s emotion in persevering against a serious illness. And emotion translates famously to advertising.

Maple sugar farmer commercial cover

The Research

Unearthing critical perceptions and game-changing differentiators.

Surveying the landscape, we found brand after healthcare brand approaching their marketing the same way: Showing doctors in masks, while using scary machinery, against depressing clinical backdrops. They were all blending together, failing to connect with audiences – and most importantly – creating a real opportunity for Middlesex Health. 

We then held one-on-ones with consumers, which helped crystalize our key differentiators. Middlesex Health was perceived as delivering a more personalized care experience than the larger systems. And their membership in the Mayo Clinic Care Network – the first in Connecticut – was seen as a game changing interest driver. There was a perception that you needed to travel for a Mayo Clinic level of care, but we knew you could get it close to home.  

Goat cheese farmer

The Work

Exceptional care that’s close to home, hits home.

With clearly defined messaging priorities and differentiators, we got to work creating emotional, impactful stories that could bring it all together. The work is unexpected, engaging and award-winning (two Silver Telly Awards). 

The new campaign launched with a 60-second TV spot, shadowing the lives of various family members in caregiving roles. The Primacy creative team knew the concept was hitting the mark when, every time the storyboard was presented, someone in the room would choke up. 

The two TV spots that followed emphasized one of the differentiators unearthed in focus groups: Getting the best care anywhere no longer means traveling far from home.  

The concepts translated easily into other formats, helping us deliver a consistent, powerful message across all communication channels. Middlesex Health has fully embraced the work—it’s not just their new ad campaign, it’s helping define who they are and what they stand for.  

Shooting the Middlesex commercials


Our strategy paid off. In the timeframe that the commercials have been airing, Middlesex Health has experienced significant business results in the form of: 

Dropping Some Data

Year One Numbers


increase in pageviews


increase in request an appointment form submits


increase in contact us form submits


increase in calls from the click to call on the website


increase in find a physician searches