UCHealth continues to spread Broncos Fever

A light approach with the serious goal of improving lives
Oct. 26, 2016

When the Broncos began the playoff run that ended with a Super Bowl victory last February, UCHealth’s Marketing Department wanted to create an engaging campaign to boost the already sky-high levels of interest in the team.

The department’s Creative Services team came up with an idea: “Broncos Fever,” an orange-and-blue condition for which even UCHealth has no cure. It initially failed to catch on with Manny Rodriguez, UCHealth’s chief marketing officer.

“I thought at first it was silly,” Rodriguez said. “But I told the team to go for it.”

Broncos Fever spread to fans at the team’’s Oct. 9 game with the Atlanta Falcons.

They did, and Broncos Fever turned out to be highly contagious. A series of humorous videos dramatizing the effects of the condition with mock seriousness drew many thousands of views and an appreciative response from the Broncos.

“They loved it,” Rodriguez said. But rather than let Broncos Fever fade away after the Super Bowl, the Marketing Department considered how to keep the “fandemic” alive, he said. “We started to think about how to continue to promote Bronco Fever and tie it to something bigger.”

Eight months after the Super Bowl, Broncos Fever has indeed continued to catch on. The UCHealth team spread awareness of it at Broncos training camp and preseason games, at the Health and Wellness Expo in early September, and through social media. Fans continue to get exposed to Broncos Fever at all Broncos home games.

The Broncos Fever contagion spread to Rio de Janeiro and Afghanistan. Olympic swimming champion Amy Van Dyken caught a case of it. Thousands of others have been exposed through BroncosFever.com, Facebook, and Twitter, according to Nikki Caputo, digital marketing manager for UCHealth (see box).

The numbers represent opportunities for UCHealth to make a meaningful connection with Broncos fans, Rodriguez said.

“Through our entire relationship with the Broncos, we’ve tried to create awareness of preventive care and screenings and the importance for people to be proactive in taking care of their health,” he said.

Just as last year’s “Movember” event used orange mustaches to raise awareness of men’s health, the Broncos Fever campaign mixes fun with serious messages. At training camp, for example, fans received temporary tattoos with the words “Highly Contagious” and wrote their symptoms of Broncos Fever on a wall. But they also received complimentary sun screen and water at branded hydration stations.

Scoreboard at Sports Authority Field lets fans know that even UCHealth can’’t help with Broncos Fever.

The prevention message was particularly strong at the Sept. 4 Health and Wellness Expo, which drew some 23,000 fans, up nearly 20 percent from the year before. More than two dozen women received mammograms, double the number from last year, according to Bill Smith, manager of corporate sponsorships for UCHealth. Physicians from UCHealth conducted 220 skin cancer screenings – up about 200 percent – and made 52 referrals for a follow-up appointment. Visitors also learned to recognize the signs of stroke from UCHealth physicians.

The idea is to show in meaningful ways that “we care about fans and the community,” Rodriguez said. Doing so with light humor, give-aways, and games is intentional, he added.

“Scaring people about their health doesn’t work,” Rodriguez said. “We want to motivate people to take actions for themselves that are better for their health.” That, in turn, is part of the Marketing Department’s strategy of sharing stories of “inspiration and aspiration” that illustrate how UCHealth helps patients improve their lives, he added.

Rodriguez noted that companies like Under Armour and Nike have “brilliantly” used a message of improved health and wellness to spread awareness of their sports gear. But these and other companies are only selling products, he added, while UCHealth is providing the care that can actually help people stay healthy or recover from injury and illness. That’s the message that he believes Broncos Fever and other marketing campaigns can deliver.

“We want to take back what these other companies have taken,” Rodriguez said.

Broncos Fever is catching

Some numbers from the Broncos Fever campaign as of Oct. 24:

  • 7,432 unique pageviews on BroncosFever.com
  • 300 social share of pages on BroncosFever.com; 40,000 total views on social media from those shares
  • Posts on UCHealth’s Facebook page have a combined reach of 352,359; total number of reactions, comments and shares from those posts is 3,694

About the author

Tyler Smith has been a health care writer, with a focus on hospitals, since 1996. He served as a writer and editor for the Marketing and Communications team at University of Colorado Hospital and UCHealth from 2007 to 2017. More recently, he has reported for and contributed stories to the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the Colorado School of Public Health and the Colorado Bioscience Association.