A real people healthcare campaign

Vanderbilt Medical Center came to us with a perception problem. Consumers recognized it as the market leader in research and innovation, but they didn’t attribute much warmth to its brand. And with Vanderbilt’s message of patient-focused care and personalized medicine, the challenge was to create a brand campaign that would make these claims believable.

  • Client: Vanderbilt Medical Center
  • Agency: Stonecastle
  • Type: Healthcare
  • Deliverable: TV Brand Campaign
  • Services: Creative Strategy, Video Production, Scriptwriting

The Project

The Project


Having chosen Stonecastle for our expertise filming immersive short documentaries, Vanderbilt asked us to create its TV campaign around the stories of real patients and doctors in their own words – without any voiceover or scripted lines. The goal was to wrap warmth and authenticity around Vanderbilt’s established reputation of medical excellence.


The success of this campaign hinged on the performances of real people, so it was critically important to cast the right ones. Working directly with Vanderbilt’s marketing team, Stonecastle guided the story development process by visiting and pre-interviewing candidates to find the rich life details that gave us the creative direction for each spot.


One of our favorite commercials features Dr. Esther Kim, a Vanderbilt physician who surprised us with her on-camera performance. In our pre-interviews, we learned all about her journey with a patient named Jessica who’d suffered multiple heart attacks. But as the cameras rolled, Dr. Kim revealed a tenderness every patient looks for in a doctor.



In order to provide Vanderbilt as many pieces of valuable content as possible, we expanded the commercials into a series of documentary shorts. Rather than being an after-thought, we built additional scenes into our production plan with the intent of placing them on a campaign landing page “for the rest of the story.”

The Campaign



The Results

"The 'Stonecastle difference' is the ability to capture the essence of the person in a way that so clearly comes through that others are just drawn in to their story. It’s mesmerizing. That’s a talent. And it’s unique."

Jill Austin, Vanderbilt Medical Center
Jill Austin, Vanderbilt Medical Center