By Dr. James Pinckney II – CEO & Founder Diamond Physicians, CMT Contributor
SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 – I fell into acting my second year at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and absolutely loved the thrill of being in front of a camera. Competitive sports were an integral part of my life for over 20 years. I desperately missed the rush of adrenaline right before tip off. My very first audition was for a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) national Wal-Mart commercial in Austin. Up against hundreds of individuals with years of training, I somehow booked the part with zero experience. Granted the role was not too challenging; I played a football fan. The trick was standing out in the minds of the producers and casting agent after a long day of viewing hundreds of the same audition. Turns out I’m a “natural” at bringing something slightly different, interesting, and most importantly compelling to the table. After booking my first audition I was on cloud nine, however my father didn’t share the same sentiments in regards to my new hobby. He felt acting was a major distraction and a waste of limited resources for a student physician. He was correct, but I needed reprieve from the daily medical school grind. The emotional high sports had provided my whole life had returned, and the monetary compensation was absurd. Proceeds from the Wal-Mart commercial (8 hours of work) paid my rent for an entire year. I ended up taking formal acting and voice-over lessons for two years on days off from my clinical rotations. Little did I know, my “distraction” would yield huge dividends.
I’ve always been a fan of a well written captivating commercial and enjoyed them immensely prior to my entry into the acting realm. The ability to convey a message designed to capture an inattentive audience in just sixty seconds is fascinating, to me at least. My wife and I’m sure the vast majority of Americans routinely utilize the commercial break for something else, or fast forward if the program has been recorded. For me, viewing a great commercial is an unbelievable treat. About two years ago a Vistaprint commercial caught my eye. The star of the sixty second spot was Tess, and she is the owner of Gardening by Tess. I noticed that Vistaprint implemented an ingenious marketing strategy by highlighting the success of a small business to indirectly promote the value of their marketing materials. After seeing the commercial air eight times in two days (I do not watch a lot of television), I also realized that Vistaprint was shelling out huge sums of money to run national ads on major channels. Background research revealed that Vistaprint’s gross revenue in 2012 was slightly over a billion dollars. I had utilized Vistaprint for years and had no idea the firm had sales in excess of one billion. That explained where the tens of millions were coming from to fuel such aggressive television advertising. Now I had to figure out how to replace Gardening by Tess with Diamond Physicians.
Over a year after first viewing Tess on my television screen, I was able to connect with Vistaprint’s production team. Turns out I’m a “natural” at bringing something slightly different, interesting, and most importantly compelling to the table. The interview process was extensive, and Vistaprint only utilizes actual customers. My final “audition” was via skype. After the director and producers asked a few questions, I stopped the interview and took everyone on a virtual tour of our office. I treated my laptop exactly as if I was selling a potential client the Diamond experience. We started in the reception area and then moved to my office for a brief consultation. Then onto the exam room, certified lab, and urgent care room. I slowly rotated my laptop when entering each new environment and introduced my producers to all of our staff. The move was spontaneous, risky, and not what the Vistaprint crew asked for. But it’s what they got, and they loved every second. After the audition the crew learned quite a bit about direct medicine and understood why Diamond Physicians is the future of healthcare in America. Fortunately for us, they also knew who would be replacing Tess.
We shot the commercial in December of 2013. I was specifically told not to act, which wasn’t a problem since being yourself is much easier than being someone else. The spot aired for the first time in April of this year. Diamond was one of four testimonials but my business card received a lot of face time. Website traffic instantly increased one thousand percent. We took a gamble redesigning our website from scratch in anticipation for the Vistaprint commercial to launch. We just spent a considerable amount of money completing the fourth generation site a month prior. The gamble paid off. Three months later Vistaprint released the second round of commercials including two versions featuring Diamond and only Diamond. Website traffic increased another 5 fold. The precipice thus far occurred on September 8, 2014 when a little over 18 million viewers were exposed to Diamond’s brand of affordable concierge medicine. Diamond Physicians solo Vistaprint spot ran during Monday Night Football on ESPN! One thousand three hundred and seven of the NFL viewers visited www.diamondphysicians.com.
The goal of every marketing campaign is to maximize exposure for the least amount of capital. The cost to acquire a new concierge or direct medicine patient can be staggering. I found that out first hand after dumping tens of thousands of dollars into ineffective marketing campaigns. Total funds Diamond injected into the national Vistaprint campaign, zero. Now our dream of providing affordable healthcare to every US citizen is materializing much faster than projected. During the firms inception we knew direct medicine was a massively scalable business. In order to leverage scalability, Diamond Physicians was founded as a franchise model prior to signing our first client. We have two to three legitimate franchise requests each month from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between. If all goes well, our first franchise deal will be official in less than 6 weeks.
National brand exposure has led to rapid practice growth, franchise opportunities, and numerous media outlets including a reoccurring medical expert role on Fox News. Over the last forty years my father has risen to the top of the corporate ladder, owns a sandwich franchise, and happens to be the COO of our firm. During our weekly conference call he mentioned, “Looks like those acting lessons paid off”. Yes they did Dad, yes they did.
- Empowering Business Owners – Vistaprint Commercial: http://youtu.be/nZb-8cmVAjA?list=UUMC4X5fvrGF7AnSoc5V10Lw
- Professional Business Cards Made Easy – Vistaprint Commercial Dr. James Solo: http://youtu.be/s5rQ0v11mPM?list=UUMC4X5fvrGF7AnSoc5V10Lw