What if you went to visit a Vermeer still life with fruit, vegetables, and flowers, and the only image you saw in the famous painting was the flower and an urn? What if you heard the sounds of a juicing machine whirring as you reflected on a Rembrandt?

That’s exactly what happened to museum-goers visiting Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum. These art patrons witnessed a museum guard literally pulling an apple out of a painting, to leave a barren portrait of an urn and little else. Roll over, Anthony Oberman, the artist of “Still Life with Fruit in a Terracotta Dish,” one of the paintings featured in this stunt. Watch the video now to delight in the medium and the message…

Philips has been on this healthy food and nutrition kick for a while. When I attended South-by-Southwest in 2015, that was the company’s initial bold foray into digital health, beginning to divest assets and businesses that did not relate to health and healthcare. In the streets in front of the Austin Convention Center, right by the food trucks selling amazing tacos and slow BBQ pulled pork, Philips was making and distributing healthy smoothies made in its juicers in trucks parked there on the street. Here’s my write-up of health, everywhere, at #SXSW2015, including the Philips smoothie story.

The serious public health data informing this campaign is that 85% of Europeans do not consume sufficient recommended quantities of fresh produce on a daily basis. The bar chart illustrates mean fruit and veg intake by European nation.

Of course, there’s artful method behind this madness. The rationale for the video ad campaign was that, as Europeans don’t eat enough fruit and veg every day, “they also tend to ignore fruit and vegetables in still life paintings. Yet you miss them when they are not there,” a write-up in Advertising Age explains.

This isn’t just a European population health challenge: 90% of Americans don’t get enough fresh fruit and vegetables, according to a CDC report published in November 2017. That’s not just physically irrational, but financially irresponsible: I wrote about how eating more fruit and veg can save America $17 billion in medical spending in my Huffington Post column. And did I mention the 127,000 lives a year saved in the U.S., too?

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Health is where we live, work, play, pray, learn and view art. I love this concept Philips’ ad agency adopted in so many ways. First, the company’s home base in the Netherlands is the site of one of the world’s great art palaces, the Rijksmuseum, home to Rembrandt’s and Vermeer’s and Van Gogh’s.

Second, Philips has doubled-down in health, and so the “discover fruits and veg for better health” message is spot-on, also softening up the company’s image in electronics and hard-edged tech.

Finally — it’s fun! We can inspire health behavior change through humor embedded with simple, motivation health messages.

File this in your best-in-class healthcare marketing case studies. Congrats to Ogilvy for an inspired health message combined with art and humor.

And enjoy this portrait of Dr. Gachet by Van Gogh, which is housed in the Rijksmuseum. Dr. Gachet was Van Gogh’s beloved doctor and friend, further bolstering the message of social networks, loving friends, creative outlets and access to medical care for health and wellbeing.

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