Cigna Says, ‘Feel Better’

NEW YORK Amid rising unemployment rates and a healthcare crisis that’s bound to be top of mind for voters this fall, health insurance company Cigna has launched an ad campaign aimed at changing the way consumers perceive the brand and the overall healthcare system.

The effort kicks off today with a series of print ads running in The Wall Street Journal. One ad features a child hugging her mother happily, while another shows a mother and father playing with their children. The tagline reads: “It’s time to feel better.”

The ads direct consumers to Cigna’s new Web site,, where they can learn about what the company is doing to improve healthcare, including initiatives like stress management and child safety tips.

Derek Weiss, Cigna’s vp, healthcare strategy marketing, said the initiative underscores the company’s central mission: to become a health services company and “not an HMO or just another health insurer,” adding that health insurance companies are often defined by other players in their field, resulting in consumer cynicism.

The “It’s time to feel better” campaign marks several firsts for the company. For one, it’s the largest business-to-consumer advertising investment Cigna has made in 25 years, Weiss said.  A previous campaign, “Help,” which ran six years ago, focused on product promotions, while its 1998 “Power of caring” series centered on creating brand awareness through consumer support of a cause or entity.

Spending on Cigna’s new campaign was not disclosed, though Weiss said it cost several million dollars and represents an even split between print and television.

TV spots will roll out nationally in late fall and no later than early 2009, said Howard Sherman, president of Doremus, New York, the agency that created the ads.

According to Sherman, the TV spots focus on issues consumers generally face. One spot, titled “It’s Time,” shows doctors, children and people from all walks of life voicing their concerns about healthcare. Voiceover says: “It’s time I could understand my benefits. Green tape. Not red tape. It’s time for less paperwork.” The ads conclude with the company’s name: “Cigna.” As Cigna serves a wide customer base, the ads target decision makers, such as heads of households and employers.

“People don’t expect one company to try to fix everything,” Sherman said. “They’re looking for someone to come in and start by making some progress.”