DeVito/Verdi's Eric Schutte on His Healthcare Journey From Mount Sinai to MetroHealth
Over his 24-year career, Eric has worked on a wide range of projects, from Super Bowl commercials to direct marketing pieces. He has created numerous award-winning campaigns for some of the largest Fortune 500 companies. He passionately loves to work on new business. Over the years, he has also gained valuable experience and sharpened his craft working for some of the biggest names in the industry—including Kevin Roddy, David Lubars, Sal DeVito and Eric Silver. He has had the honor of working at some of the most prestigious agencies in the business.
In Eric's spare time, he enjoys drinking in life, sip by sip. Maybe it's a white-knuckle ride on his Harley with his wife Noel or just laughing and playing with his four beautiful children, Eric believes life is to be lived. We spoke with Eric for our series Checkup, where we chat with leaders in the healthcare marketing space.
Eric, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey. A small town outside of NYC. I was always into art, drawing, comic books and painting, and would sneak into the city at every opportunity I could get. Hanging out in Soho, going from art gallery to art gallery and into the art museums like MOMA, the Met and the Whitney. I moved further west to Caldwell, New Jersey, where I live now, but still close enough to get to the city for work and to enjoy the arts whenever I can.
How you first got into healthcare marketing, and what attracted you to it.
My advertising instructor Sal DeVito hired me before I graduated from The School of Visual Arts. One of the accounts at the agency was the Mount Sinai Health System. I instantly recognized that healthcare marketing was a way to do good in the world. Many times with regular marketing you're convincing people they need something they probably don’t. But almost always in healthcare marketing, you’re telling the public about a product or company that can improve their quality of life. Help a person with a disease enjoy things they otherwise might not or spread the word about a health system that's going above and beyond to help their community, letting patients know about a new therapy or treatment that could save lives.
In marketing, PSAs give you that feeling of helping people, but in healthcare marketing, almost every assignment gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling.
Something people might not know about the healthcare industry.
I’ve found it’s the most rewarding, but hardest marketing industry. There are far more boxes that need to be checked off, far more attorney reviews, up to five times the amount of legal copy to deal with, long lists of what you can’t say about products, rounds and rounds of focus groups, I can go on and on. With all that in mind, now you have to come up with an amazing, effective, memorable idea. Some people throw up their hands and run, but if you love a good challenge, this is the industry for you.
A recent project you’re proud of.
We were recently asked to rebrand MetroHealth of Cleveland. It’s a small but amazing health system that's looking at community healthcare in a revolutionary way. Addressing the diversity and inclusion issues in Cleveland head on. It was a full rebrand—new identity, logo, website, marketing material, TV/video. It’s all still in the process of rolling out, but one of the first things we did was a video to inform the public how the health system is championing diversity. You can see it on the link above, along with the new logo. It was produced in a very hands-on technique, walking around the neighborhood the health system resides in, asking people if they wanted to be in a video for MetroHealth. The whole video was produced for under $40,000.
Someone else’s project in healthcare that you were impressed by recently.
The most recent thing I saw and loved was some of the Apple Watch work. They’ve turned a watch into a healthcare device. Built in EKGs, checks blood oxygen levels, heart rates, loud noises, sudden falls and more … being able to phone emergency services from your watch. That’s groundbreaking, and the marketing that goes with it is as well.
A major challenge facing healthcare advertisers today.
How to keep reaching consumers in new and innovating ways. The industry has been discovering new ways to get impressions year after year. What will we do next year?
One thing about how healthcare is evolving that you’re excited about.
The targeting and data we receive from work is amazing. The information gathered keeps getting better and more specific. It allows us to adjust the work, the briefs and the teams to do better-performing work year after year. Getting more of this information on non-digital channels, and applying some of this information from the digital channels to the non-digital channels, may be able to make all the channels perform better.
How healthcare can attract more creative talent.
First, by having award shows like Clio Health championing great work, great ideas and rewarding the hard work and innovative thinking the creative talent is doing today. Second, by agencies blurring the divide between healthcare and non-healthcare advertising and marketing. If agencies had creatives work on both healthcare and non-healthcare, the creatives can experience both. Most creatives who I’ve experienced loved working in healthcare. You get to do great innovative ideas and help people. It’s really one of the best experiences in advertising.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in healthcare marketing?
I’d be at an agency doing non-healthcare marketing. Missing out on doing great work that I’m proud of and feel great about.