If doughnuts bring Homer Simpson to mind rather than pediatric healthcare, you might wonder why there's a Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic.
UNC Children's Hospital recently renamed its multispecialty clinic in Raleigh, N.C., after a 5-mile charity race that dares participants to eat a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts at the race's midpoint. The Park Scholars, the race's student organizers at North Carolina State University, have donated all race proceeds to the hospital and have agreed to raise $2 million by 2020. Almost half of that goal has already been met.
The naming of a children's facility after a treat that's high in sugar and fat has been called misguided by some. “We have certainly been criticized over the decision, but the intent has always been to celebrate and honor the Park Scholars,” a UNC spokeswoman said, while noting that discussions are ongoing.
Krispy Kreme doesn't fund the race and isn't associated with the clinic. But there are a number of other facilities, especially children's hospitals, named after major corporations.
Some have obvious links to childhood or healthcare. Toymakers are behind the names of Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, R.I., and Mattel Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. A drugmaker's name is attached to Bristol-Myers Squibb Children's Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J.
Some names present odd juxtapositions, such as Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York. Donations from Abercrombie & Fitch, better known for shirtless models than healthcare, put the A&F brand on two emergency departments in Columbus, near the clothing retailer's headquarters—at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children's Hospital. The latter is named after Nationwide Insurance.
Hospitals shouldn't think that a branded identity is beneath their dignity, but they do need to understand that they're taking a risk in not knowing what trouble a brand could get into down the road, said Scott Collins, president of Aria Marketing, a healthcare public relations and marketing firm.
“Like anything, be aware of the potential downside,” Collins said.