How One Mental Hospital Got Branded For Good

July 31, 2013 Alistair McHarg

Marketers today are obsessed with “branding” which, in the most general of terms, is the mental picture a prospect or customer has of a company. For example, when you say “McDonald’s” I think of a diabolical clown whose red shoes skate across a smear of grease. Others might think of inedible food in bright red boxes served up by awkward, angry teenagers dreaming of their next tattoos. Companies may project any brand they like, but their actual brand is the image and opinion others have of them.

The healthcare industry, different from mainstream corporate enterprise in many ways, has been slow to adopt the branding model in its promotional efforts. Lagging furthest behind is the mental health sector which, for legitimate reasons, considers “promotion” and “advertising” too crass, smarmy, unctuous, obsequious and flat out grubby for its taste.

For these reasons I was surprised to encounter a groundbreaking awareness campaign being run by Fair Oaks Psychiatric Hospital, a local in-patient psychiatric facility and rehab specializing in celebrities, politicians, evangelists, prize fighters and talk show hosts.

It all began innocently enough. On the way into town to have my best goat tested for emphysema I got stuck behind a bright yellow Hummer sporting snazzy bumper stickers emblazoned with slogans and the words, Fair Oaks Psychiatric Hospital. Later that day I saw another similarly adorned car and before long it became obvious that Fair Oaks had hired some smart new ad executive determined to drag the quiet care center headfirst into the 21st century.

I found the stickers interesting enough to be saved and jotted slogans as I encountered them. Call it branding, call it image-advertising, call it thinking outside of the box, I call it innovation.

Here are some of the bumper sticker slogans that really stood out.

Depression Is Nothing To Laugh About

Can’t Stop Talking About Tourette’s Syndrome

Rehab Is For Quitters

Humility Is Nothing To Brag About

Just Say No To Nihilism

Don’t Honk If You Like Auditory Hallucinations

Reality Is Not Merely A Lifestyle Option

I Have Lost The Ability To Speak About Aphasia

Exorcise Your Demons Don’t Exercise Them

Expect The ExpectedUn

Turns out the goat is fine.

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2013, July 31). How One Mental Hospital Got Branded For Good, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

July, 31 2013 at 1:47 pm

Hi Alistair! My son worked for a McD's as a shift manager. One day walking home he encountered a gun on the sidewalk, he decided to kick it out of the way and then walk over to the local precinct. He told them what happened, they nearly fainted when they found out he kicked it. Turns out the thing was loaded. I almost fainted too when he told me what he did. Perhaps it was an angry drive through worker who left it there?
I really like "I have lost the ability to speak about aphasia." I think that "If I didn't know I was crazy,I'd go insane" would make a great bumper sticker too. Hope you are doing well, have a great week :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
August, 1 2013 at 1:03 am

Hi Cindy: Amazing story about your son - glad he's okay!

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