Maybe it's the simplicity, the single take, the jarringly good-humored tragedy of the young girl. Whatever it is, this Johnson & Johnson spot highlighting pediatric nurses produced by the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing's Future is tremendously moving.
In the month since it was posted on YouTube, the video has received nearly 50,000 views, hundreds of votes, of which not a single one, not one (a rarity for the crankiness that is YouTube's comments stream), is a "dislike." As one YouTuber put it: "Dammit. Now I am crying."
Of the ad, a J&J spokesperson told us, "We recognize that nurses have a unique quality beyond their medical skills and knowledge — they also bring the necessary care and compassion that helps the patient through whatever the situation might be. These spots focus on the important role nurses truly play for their patients, both physically and emotionally."
It's the latest effort in the brand's ongoing corporate commitment to supporting nurses. In the "Why" section of the J&J-sponsored Discover Nursing website, the brand notes that it is "acutely aware that today our nation faces the most profound shortage of nursing professionals in its history" and that "enrollment in nursing degree programs has fallen 17 percent over the last five years. Adding to the problem, registered nurses are leaving the profession at an ever-increasing rate. All of this is happening as the largest single generation in our nation's history reaches its age of greatest health care need."
To address this crisis, Johnson & Johnson partnered with health care leaders and organizations including the National Student Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, and the National League for Nursing in an effort to inspire more youths to take up the profession, and inspire those already there to stay. It's a tall order and not at all new. Begun in 2002, when the field faced similar shortages, Johnson & Johnson's "Discover Nursing" campaign has so far committed $50 million to boost recruitment and improve nursing's image which included commercials broadcast during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
The campaign website, DiscoverNursing.com, has received 2.5 million unique visitors and 47,000 subscriptions to its "Nursing Notes" newsletter. Keeping up with the times, J&J also launched a companion "Happy Nurse" smartphone app.
The campaign continued over the last near decade, though none of the messaging ever reached the simple power of the "Name Game ad." For example, one of the campaign's current ads, called "Charm," is nowhere near as inspiring. A voiceover. A little keychain gimmick. It is so much like every other "inspiring" ad.
Nursing shortages are likely to continue and programs countering them must be diverse, multi-faceted, and use numerous platforms and outreach methods. But sometimes, a single touch point can sum up the entire larger endeavor and inspire even those who are inside, driving the campaign. The ad — created by BBDO New York — features a real life nurse (Tom) and a child actor. (It's policy not to use real patients.)
As one of the video's commenters puts it: "Absolutely love this commercial! I almost cried! I have been a pediatric nurse for almost 5 years! I have thought about getting out of peds..........but this commerical makes me remember why I love working with children! Thank you J&J!"