Why we’re putting ads for our Body Program on the subway

Written by Ro 

Written by Ro 

last updated: Aug 01, 2023

3 min read

Over the next few weeks, ads for our Body Program will be featured throughout the subway system in New York City — on turnstiles, wall boards, and covering the stations in Times Square and Grand Central.

We wanted to share the story behind our campaign.

Ro exists to help patients achieve their health goals. Our marketing is often the first step to helping patients understand how we can help, whether that’s on social media, TV, or the subway during their commutes. We meet our patients where they are with clear, reliable information that aims to break down stigmas and break through the noise.

When we introduced the Body Program, our comprehensive obesity care offering that pairs GLP-1 treatment with high-touch provider care and coaching, we knew advertising would be especially important to help educate and demystify this chronic condition.

Obesity has a long history of misunderstanding, bias, and stigma throughout society, media, and the healthcare system. The reality is that obesity today affects more than 40% of American adults — and that number is rising. Despite this, historically, there has never been an effective and scalable treatment to help people achieve their weight loss and metabolic health goals. With newer treatments and now GLP-1 medications, people have a new chance to achieve those goals.

Our new marketing campaign, supported by clinical research and conversations with our patients, aims to start an important, sometimes difficult, conversation focused on de-stigmatizing obesity as a condition and highlighting a new, incredibly effective treatment that may, for the first time, be a real solution for millions of people.

Our goals with this campaign

Spotlight obesity as a chronic condition: Half of our patients report trying four or more methods of weight loss before coming to Ro. This is not surprising. Obesity is a complex chronic condition and even when you try your best to address it, your body can fight to maintain its weight.

At Ro, we believe obesity is not a failing of self-control nor should anyone feel ashamed or discouraged about not being able to address it through sheer will, diet, or exercise alone. We wanted to create ads that are unapologetic about the fact that obesity is deserving of effective treatments and high-quality healthcare just like any other chronic condition.

Demystify GLP-1 treatments: For a long time, effective obesity treatments were not widely available. Aside from the 1% of eligible people who get bariatric surgery each year, most others have been left with countless diets and exercise programs that often over promise and underdeliver.

Because of these common experiences, we know that considering a once weekly GLP-1 shot can seem intimidating. It’s totally normal to want to see the data. Our ads spotlight the moment of injection while simultaneously sharing evidence about the efficacy, risks, and side effects as well as underscoring the lifestyle changes we know are necessary to see long-lasting results. Through these ads, we want to shatter the misconception that medication for weight loss is cheating.

Empower people to take control: Many people have shared with us that they have been trying to lose weight for years, sometimes their entire adult lives. This can be frustrating because some patients tell us that they have other weight-related conditions (e.g. type 2 diabetes, hypertension) and most are well aware that their weight is affecting their health. Unfortunately, many also tell us that even when they have sought treatment, their in-person providers have been unable to help or worse, have judged them.

No one has to feel guilty or embarrassed for seeking treatment. People can feel empowered to do so — it’s not cheating, it’s science. Our hope is that folks feel they can seek obesity care and treatment without bias or judgment.

What you’ll see

Spotlighting the moment of injection. There is no question that the innovation of GLP-1s provides a new way to achieve one’s weight loss and metabolic health goals — this is not just another diet or exercise program.

Injection imagery that shows patients are in control. Patients can be empowered over something — obesity and weight loss–that has typically been seen by others as a lack of self control.

We made sure that our models met the requirements for our program. We want the ads to speak directly to the people we think we can help.

Emphasis on pairing these treatments with lifestyle changes and provider engagement — which is what the Body Program is all about. GLP-1s are the most effective when paired with high-touch, quality care.

Inclusion of ISI (important safety information). It’s important that patients have all the information they need to talk to their provider and together, assess the risk/benefits of this medication.

Obesity is an incredibly nuanced topic that is deeply personal to many — there are genetic, biological, socioeconomic, ethnicity, lifestyle, and other components to consider. Not all of this can make it into our ads. We recognize that these are difficult conversations to have — and that not everyone will love our marketing.

For us, it was important to take a step back from the noise and look at the data, which tells us there is a new treatment offering that so many people can benefit from because of its efficacy. This campaign aims to start a conversation around what obesity actually is, how it can be addressed, and what Ro can do to help people who want to take steps toward their weight and metabolic health goals.