March 2011

Giant Spine Parade Costume for Chiropractor’s Marketing

A Giant Spine Parade Costume? I bet you thought you’ve heard it all!

Want to order it? Options start as low as $89. Get the details by requesting the free report in the blue box on the  right sidebar of this website.



And it’s a fantastic team building event for your staff!



Otherwise here is the really cool  story:

I want more people to enjoy the significant health improvements that chiropractic care can produce. So, I decided to do more chiropractic marketing. Several new chiropractors had moved into my area within the last few years. It seemed that every place I ran an advertisement for my services, soon I’d see 2 or even 3 similar ads. To make matters worse, the main newspaper in town closed down, as is happening around the country; thus making it difficult for me to reach potential new customers in the community. Sure I had loads of referrals but felt obligated to reach everybody. And you should too!

I tried direct mail marketing, and even made an attempt at telemarketing, but that only lasted until I received a few unpleasant comments from very agitated people.

One Sunday, my pastor gave a remarkable sermon about selfishness. I felt like he was talking directly  to me. I vowed to continue my  focus on helping God’s people. I reminded myself that I became a chiropractor because I wanted to help people with their health, and felt that the chiropractic concept that health comes mostly from within (holistic/vitalistic) is one worth promoting. I decided I would not give up or give-in!

Want this cutting edge marketing tool? I offer several options stating as low as $89. Get the details by requesting the free report in the blue box on the right sidebar of this website.

I believe that every doctor has a duty to market their services and let everybody know what they offer. I explain more about this in my new book for doctors called Reclaim the Joy of Practice: An Advanced Guide for Advancing Doctors.

Being a creative fellow, I decided to hang in there and find a way I could reach the people in my community inexpensively, respectfully, and in a fun and effective way that no one else had yet attempted. The developer of our chiropractic profession, Dr. BJ Palmer, made 2 great comments about this that I read in his early writings of the 1920’s: 1) “Early to bed, early to rise, work like heck and advertise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” And 2) “If your business is not worth being advertised, then advertise it for sale.”

Dr BJ Palmer

I always liked those statements, so the next morning I woke up with an idea; I’ll dig out the book where I read that to see what else ol’ Dr BJ had to say about advertising. What I found out was quite amazing. It turns out that Dr BJ Palmer was brilliant in many ways but especially when it came to promotion of the rather new chiropractic profession. You see, soon after the profession was founded in 1895, the medical profession began attacking it as they saw their patients not only going to the chiropractors but raving about the results. This new chiropractic concept, that health is within each of us, and one cause of illness is nerve interference from spinal misalignment (vertebral subluxation), blocking one’s innate healing ability, was being targeted for annihilation. Hundreds of chiropractors were being thrown in jail, accused by the MDs  of “practicing medicine without a license,” because there were no chiropractic licenses then; a clever but mean spirited ploy.

Dr Fred Courtney rendering a chiropractic adjustment to his fellow inmate.

BJ countered in the only way he could, reaching out to the masses with creative advertising, like starting the first radio station west of the Mississippi – WHO –“With Hands Only”. He even looked himself creative with his long flowing hair, goatee, and big lacy bowtie – very unusual for his era.

But then I turned the page and I saw what I was looking for. My heart started beating faster, and my hands became moist. I saw an old picture of a giant spine, each vertebra being carried separately as a parade float.  A light bulb shown above me as I realized that the annual parade in my town is a huge event attracting thousands. Aha!

Circa 1925

I knew this would do the trick, but where does one find a giant spine? Not one to give up easily, I called my alma mater Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. Sheepishly asking if they had a giant spine, I sat up in my chair when the receptionist said “Yes, we rent it out.”

I was ready to recite my credit card numbers for the $800 rental until she hit me with some bad news, the giant spine was booked for the next 3 Fourth of July’s. On top of that, a semi-trailer type truck was required to transport the behemoth.

Disappointed but not discouraged, I sat down with my sketch pad and pencil. The basic shape was easy, being emblazoned in my mind from 20 plus years of looking at x-rays in my practice, but the material was the dilemma. And I decided my giant vertebra will be able to be broken down into components, for ease of transport and storage. I’m one who believes there is always a better mousetrap.

After considering papier mache, cardboard, molded plastic, and even some dinosaur bones I spotted on Ebay, I ordered a custom made special type of foam. It’s durable, waterproof, bendable, and best of all white just like a vertebra.

With a bit of experimentation and several bandages to cover the cuts on my fingers from the Exacto knife, I devised a vertebra whose components that could all be cut from one sheet of foam, attach together with Velcro and then disassemble to lay flat and an entire spine could fit in back of a mini-van. Voila!

Not surprisingly, the giant spine was the hit of the parade. I’ve never had so many fingers pointing at me since I ripped my pants in grade school! LOL. The crowds especially liked the “tailbone” which was my dog at the back wearing a small vertebra.

“Lou” the tailbone

We made the front page of our local paper!

I made sure everybody in that parade knew the name of my office and where we were located, with a big banner in front of the giant spine, in back, and with my name and location on the pens we handed out along the route.

My patient volume skyrocketed soon after. The finger pointing continued for months as I ran my errands around town, people exclaiming “You’re that chiropractor with that giant spine!” I soon learned to carry a wad of business cards at all times.  That year I treated a record number of patients, and went on to build one of the largest chiropractic offices in the world.  I’ve been the “giant spine chiropractor” in the town’s parade year after year. I’ve had dozens of chiropractors ask me to build it for them, now I enjoy sharing the plans with others, and even making them for DCs, knowing that many more people are learning about the wonderful principle that most health comes from within, and that the nervous system through the spine is what controls it – that’s what we chiropractors focus on to help our patients.


Want this cutting edge marketing tool? I offer several options stating as low as $89. Get the details by requesting the free report in the blue box on the right sidebar of this website.

And then just email me your needs and I’ll send you an invoice- But be forewarned that there is a waiting list developing!

Practice on!

Dr Tom Potisk

PS Be sure and check out my Bible-Based Health Care PowerPoint presentation to be used for educating the community.

If you like what I write you can get all my future posts by clicking on the orange RSS feed.

PPS Order before 8/15 and I’ll include a digital copy of my highly acclaimed book for DCs – Reclaim the Joy of Practice: An Advanced Guide for for Advancing Doctors.

-“Dr Tom Potisk has a remarkable message for chiropractors at all stages of their career. His experiences with a successful multi-DC practice, his awards, his short-term mission chiropractic trips, and his credibility all show in his very motivating books and presentations.”- Dr Victor Strang, Palmer College of Chiropractic.

“What a practical and well written book for Chiropractors! Your integrity shines through. My office is setting records thanks in large part to your information and my joy is soaring. No wonder they call you the best!” – Brian Trautman DC

“ Dr. Tom is the Real Deal. Great book, great doc., great person!” – Ed Petty, PM&A Practice Management

Categories: Giant Spine Parade and Event Costume, marketing/advertising, Uncategorized


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