The Best Dental Ads and Why They Work for Patient Attraction

Dental ads! For many they can be a necessary after-thought. But the best dental ads and why they work are the result of intentional creativity.

It’s not to say that all effective ads are merely creative. In fact, overdone creativity can actually work against ad success.

Here’s what we know about the best ads – generally speaking.

In the dental industry, like other industries, you’re aware that a well-crafted ad can be leveraged to attract new patients and retain current ones.

Here’s why:

”Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords. Display advertising has proven to increase traffic to websites by 300 percent.” [1]

But don’t be biased that it’s all about the use of AdWords or display ads. Generally speaking, the best ads contain:

  • Compelling imagery
  • Benefit-focused copy/content


1. A serving of the unexpected with a side of benefits.

An Instagram post by Grand Street Dental was created to promote their Invisalign® services. It focused on the emotional decision associated with getting metal braces.

The ad’s image featured a fork with crooked tines. The unexpected symbolism: crooked teeth.

An Instagram timeline scroll on their feed would naturally compel a comment like, “there’s a fork!” Strategically, the copy/content that follows makes no mention of the obvious “fork-in-the-road.”

It does, however, create a compelling case for the benefits of straight teeth over crooked (aka the fork) teeth.

The ad works because:

  • It uses an unexpected, though compelling, image
  • It doesn’t overplay the image but instead directs attention to the solution and benefits
  • It places emphasis on how the practice’s services can solve the problem

2. Keepin’ it local.

Targeted marketing with a local emphasis works for a variety of reasons. This type of promotion is crystal clear about the audience.

You could fill-in-the-blank with any city (yours), add an emotionally compelling image relevant to what you’re promoting, and include a few lines of equally compelling copy.

This type of ad works because:

  • You can use the effective resources of search engines like Google and social media channels such as Facebook.
  • Geo-tagging narrows your ad’s reach to a specific city, region, and/or demographic.
  • Proximity and convenience work in your favor.

3. “Can’t-unsee-that” before & after images.

This isn’t about grossing-out your audience. It’s more about the “shock-and-awe” unveiling.

People often feel their condition is beyond repair. And that’s the power of this type of promotion. You can’t look away! But then you realize there can be a positive outcome.

Here’s why this is effective:

  • The imagery stops people in their tracks but stops short of being grotesque.
  • It creates a second look appeal by presenting an obvious solution to the problem.

marketing guide download

4. Pop-culture memes.

Promotions that follow the same “before & after” theme can also take a humorous track. The popular ad featuring Lord of the Rings, Gollum, uses humor to send a message.

The normal “before” image of Gollum compared with the off-the-grid “after” image of him has a powerful impact. You laugh then you go “hmmm!”

This promotion works because:

  • Pop-culture references from movies, TV, and books deliver an unexpected “jolt” of reality but still feel relatable helping your audience to feel in on the joke.
  • Dental issues create feelings of dread and/or a sense of seriousness. A humorous approach lightens the mood while presenting benefits and solutions.

5. Print-ad with an old-school vibe.

Dental direct mail doesn’t have to always include a “happy, smiling” stock image. In fact, many direct mail promotions or print ads have a numbing effect because we’ve all seen the same images over and over.

Revive an old-school feel with a humorous twist like the ad copy featuring a woman wearing a crown:

“My Dentist told me I needed a crown. I was like, ‘I KNOW, RIGHT?!’”

A crown on her head creates a “duh” response. In reality, a cap or crown required on a tooth is less invasive when you sprinkle in some humor (like the Gollum ad).

The ad is effective because it:

  • Creates incentive for a second-opinion, a necessary treatment, or an examination.
  • Creates urgency about a recommended treatment.
  • Creates a connection from something funny to something that’s beneficial to your patient’s health.

6. “Didn’t see that coming!” storytelling.

An attractive woman, a party, working-the-room, and then she smiles. But that’s where the positive attention comes to a grinding halt. You feel the tension in the room.

That’s how the Crest 3D White Whitestrips ad used video to tell a story. The surprise ending popped up when you least expected it like a jack-in-the-box.

You’re shocked. You feel her pain. And you don’t want to ever feel what she felt.

The ad is powerful because:

  • It sells without being salesy.
  • It promotes white healthy teeth without being pushy.
  • It uses an everyday scenario to reveal an unseen reality.
  • It releases you from the need to use a heavy promotional approach and instead directly appeal to emotion.
  • It captivates as it compels.

Trust the results and strategy of the best dental ads and improve your dental marketing.

Effective marketing starts at the idea level. Then turning those ideas into a promotion that compels your audience to take action.

Check out these related resources to generate dental marketing ideas and create a more sustainable recall system:

5 Dental Marketing Ideas (and Strategies) for Increased Patient Recall

The 3 Social Media Sites You Should Be Promoting Your Business On and Why

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your office from a mundane to a magical patient experience.

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