Advertising annoys me. When you have enough money in your advertising budget you can make your ads say whatever you want. And if you say it enough times, regardless of its truth or benefit, people will start to believe it.

Every time I watch commercials and see ads for pain killers it drives me nuts. “Don’t deal with why you are in pain; just take this pill and pretend that your pain doesn’t exist. Then when the pill wears off, just take another one.” Or the adult leakage protection. “Don’t worry that when you cough or sneeze you pee your pants; just wear these diapers and you won’t be humiliated when you do pee just a little.”

The pain killer ads are not going to advocate for you to go see a health professional that will help you with you pain in a long term fashion so that you don’t have to continue to take pain killers: that’s bad for business. The leakage protection companies aren’t going to tell you that there are ways to train your pelvic floor, as it is a muscle, that can prevent your leakage and truly get you back to normal life without fear of embarrassment: that’s bad for business. See, those businesses don’t really care if you get better, they just want you to buy their product.

What I want to say about advertising that carries far more weight than what money can throw at it is that word of mouth advertising is of the highest calibre. If we do our job well enough, to such an extent that our clients would tell someone else about what it is that we do, that is the highest form of advertising we could purchase. We want our clients to achieve goals, goals that range from maintaining or improving an active lifestyle, to giving themselves the best shot at playing a sport at the highest level possible. I have many rehab clients that come in with all different sorts of injuries and pain, and the overwhelming goal from them is to not have their current level of pain become normal. Some of our clients only need to see us for a given amount of time before they move on: that would be poor healthcare if we didn’t want to see them progress to something beyond our facility. And when they can tell someone else about what it is that we do as Aspire, how they achieved their goals and are now doing “x, y, z”, that fulfills the reason we are in the health care business.

So the next time a big name fitness facility moves to Kelowna with a huge advertising budget, look beyond their ads and see what they are really offering. Is it anything different? Is it what you are looking for? Or ask your friends or family and see what they are doing. They are more likely to give you the truth of where they are going than any ad or silly blog will.

Jon Rowe, BKin, CSCS, CEP