Knowing what the community wants and needs is an advantage in any industry and often the key to success in breaking through a competitive environment. Orthodontic treatment is in competition with many other commodities (televisions, stereos, holidays, cars) for people's disposable incomes. One of the differences between such commodities and the choice to undergo orthodontic treatment is that people know were to go to acquire such goods and services and what the benefits are of having them. Much of this information is provided through the television media, orthodontics, on the other hand, has no such exposure.
The Orthodontic industry depends on referrals from patients, referrals from dental practitioners and other limited means of informing people that orthodontists exist, what services they provide and the benefits of orthodontic treatment. There is a real need to educate and create more awareness of what orthodontics can do, where to access orthodontic services and who can provide orthodontic treatment.
An orthodontic awareness campaign was developed after measuring attitudes, knowledge and demand for orthodontic treatment in Cairns and its surrounds. An initial telephone survey in March 2002 identified that the community-preferred way of accessing information about orthodontics was via television. In response to this an infomercial, to raise the level of orthodontic knowledge and awareness, was developed and broadcast on one regional television station for 5 weeks across all timeslots approximately 200 times in February and March 2003. The infomercial had 30 seconds duration and the following characteristics: to have no stereotypes; to contain generic information and images; to be fun, interesting and educational; to be transferable across states and cultures; and to create friends not enemies. It aimed to educate by creating an awareness of orthodontic treatment and how it could be accessed. A second telephone survey was performed in March 2003 to evaluate the infomercial and its effectiveness. The results indicated that telephone surveys are an effective means of gathering information and are reproducible and repeatable over time. Television was the most effective and acceptable medium for communicating information to the public and the public felt comfortable with orthodontic information being available on television. The infomercial was readily accepted and liked by those who saw it. Those who saw the infomercial were more accepting of orthodontic information on television than those who had not seen it.
View Infomercial [3 Mb .mpeg file]