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Northwell commercials to air during Super Bowl, latest marketing blitz to highlight name change

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling said Thursday that the ad was paid for entirely by an anonymous donor.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Northwell Health, which until January was known as the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, will air its first-ever Super Bowl ads during Sunday's game -- a 30-second spot in the second quarter, and two 30-second ads that will run during pre-game coverage.

Northwell CEO Michael Dowling said Thursday that the ad was paid for entirely by an anonymous donor.

The in-game spot will feature footage of some of the first babies born in the health system's hospitals since the adoption of the new moniker, emphasizing the name change and touting the fact that 42,000 babies are born in those hospitals every year. That represents about 17 percent of all births throughout New York State and about 1 percent of the nationwide total.

[Also: Northwell rebranding kicks off; New Years baby stars in marketing video]

It's the first round of advertising geared toward giving hospital network an even larger regional presence.

"As time goes on, the ads will evolve into talking about some of the things that we do that we think are pretty innovative -- our medical school, our nursing school, research, clinical quality metrics," said Dowling. "That probably won't be happening for a couple of months."

Ramon Soto, Northwell's senior vice president and chief marketing and communications officer, said the Super Bowl -- the most-watched single event on American television -- is a powerful venue for telling the story of the organization's rebranding efforts.

"Our new ad conveys our commitment to caring for these precious newborns and their families throughout their lifetimes," he said.

It's of a piece with Northwell's overall push to develop lifelong relationships with the patients who walk through its hospitals' doors, said Dowling.

[Also: Northwell Health, formerly North Shore-LIJ, to spend millions on rebranding, chief says]

"How do you develop a lifetime loyalty with those families subsequent to the birth of a baby?" he said. "You have to be communicating with them on a regular basis, so they know you are their partner for the remainder of their lifespan. That's how you draw the whole family in. All that consumer focus is a major part of our strategic vision going forward."

The ad footage was filmed seconds after the stroke of midnight on New Year's Day, showcasing moments in which new mothers and their babies embrace each other for the first time. An early version of the ad, broadcast within hours of the births on Jan. 1, has generated more than 2 million views through Northwell's social media outreach.

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"We are trying to take a different approach with our ads than other healthcare providers that feature testimonials of patients who've recovered from disease," said Soto. "For us, this is truly a celebration of life. Where others may see them as just newborn babies, we see people whom we will be looking after and keeping healthy their whole lives. It's a much more positive way to tap into that emotion."

The pre-game ads will highlight several of the efforts spawned by the health system's 61,000-plus employees. Those include a new area of research in which electronic implants are used to stimulate the nervous system, potentially replacing drugs currently used to treat inflammatory and autoimmune diseases; new privacy curtains that can be easily cleaned without disconnecting them from the support rods; and and a "no pass zone" policy that prohibits all hospital staff from walking past a patient room if a call light comes on without first checking in with the patient. Nurses, doctors, administrators and dietary workers are all held to that last policy, officials said.

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The ads comprise a portion of Northwell's new marketing campaign entitled "Look North." Created with ad agency J. Walter Thompson New York, it introduces the health system's new name, website, tagline and logo to metropolitan New York consumers.

"We will be public a lot more than we were in the past," said Dowling. "Since we launched the new name, it has been universally accepted. The public seems to like it. Everybody's using it, even though we're a month into it. This is a very positive development."

Twitter: @JELagasse

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