Case Study

Case Study

Advocate Health Care

Using OOH Ratings to develop a media plan that maximizes reach in key zip codes, a hospital system efficiently targets consumers closest to each of its locations.

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Advocate Health Care is based in the Chicagoland area and has been named one of the top 100 hospitals in the United States. In 2009, Advocate Health Care was spending about $700,000 on out of home each year. Since then, the company has slowly built its program & increased its spending in all media, expanding to posters, bulletins & Metra (rail/transit) buys in the Chicago market.

In October 2011, the agency approached all out of home vendors in the Chicago DMA and asked them to pitch for the system-wide Advocate business. At that time, the agency stipulated that they only wanted to propose bulletins and transit options to the client. 


There are 10 Advocate hospitals in Illinois, eight of which are in the Chicagoland DMA. For each hospital, there was a list of primary and secondary zip codes that all inventory must be placed in. The agency team looked to local out of home vendor companies to recommend inventory that would be most efficient at reaching all their sites & target zips, especially looking for input on boards that would allow them to impact overlapping service areas (zips) to a specific site. In addition, the agency & client focus wanted input on boards targeting each hospital’s “primary zip codes,” on local surface streets (little presence on expressways). This is where TAB OOH Ratings were very useful because although expressways are typically desirable because of their higher impressions, OOH Ratings data could demonstrate the efficiency of surface street inventory in reaching their target demo.


The account team’s strategy was to develop methodology that recommended the “proper” number of outdoor placements needed in each local Advocate Health Care hospital market by zip code. 

The team pulled all bulletin inventory in each hospital’s area and plotted the inventory on a map to show the vendor company’s ability to reach the targeted zip codes. TAB OOH Ratings allowed the team to rank the inventory within the target zip codes from highest to lowest in reaching the target demographic. This enabled the team to select boards based on the demographic criteria the agency set, demonstrating the power of surface street inventory for the client. The account team did this separately for all 8 hospitals, creating a very specific proposal including marquee units in high traffic areas that went beyond the agency expectations. 

The agency RFP also specified the plan should determine the “proper allotment” of inventory relative to each hospital service area “to maintain a continuous low level branding presence.” As each of their service areas are “custom geographies” based on zip codes, which is not relative to OOH Ratings, the account team analyzed their inventory to ensure fulfilling this part of the request. To do so, the team looked at each board’s efficiency from the full DMA population using Telmar Planning Software. Then, based on the custom geography of the client, the team determined the population, took the ratings data, and ran it against the zip code boundary population to come up with a weekly GRP number, creating a custom showing for each hospital equivalent to about 25% of the total population in Advocate’s target areas and close to 70% of Advocate’s target demo. 


The agency signed a full-year contract, including a transit domination program and plans to commit to several smaller, shorter term programs throughout the year based on OOH Ratings data. As a result, Advocate Health Care is now the branch’s biggest local client. The depth of the media plan required the agency to move money out of other media plans in order to maintain a continuous presence, increasing OOH’s share in the Chicago marketplace as well.

Additionally, OOH Ratings data has now become an integral part of the agency’s planning and buying efforts. The program reinforced the value of OOH Ratings and the agency now requests ratings data not just for Advocate Health Care’s future buys, but for its other clients as well, some of whom have never purchased OOH by using OOH Ratings.