Taxi, Blue Shield Tell Tales

LOS ANGELES Taxi has unveiled a new creative direction for Blue Shield of California in a campaign breaking this week.

Stylistically, the spots seek to stand out by presenting multiple talking heads against stark white backgrounds.

In one 30-second execution, a young man unable to afford healthcare insurance wears his bike helmet for protection. “It can get awkward, sure when you’re meeting new people,” he says. A voiceover explains that Blue Shield offers various plans for people at all income levels. Next, a woman tells of switching doctors and jokingly describes her reluctance to disrobe in front of him. “But he takes my insurance, so here I am, showing him the goods,” she says. Other characters also chime in during the spot.

Outdoor executions keep the look and feel of the TV work and include copy such as, “Thousands of doctors we hope you never need” and “‘Hello’ shouldn’t come 35 minutes into the call.”

The “We shield you” tagline is rendered with a shield icon representing the middle word.

“One look at the industry, it was obvious that the industry was unhealthy,” said Taxi CCO Paul Lavoie. “People don’t like the industry, they have to deal with it. One of the cool things about Blue Shield of California is that they said, ‘We agree.'”

Lavoie said the agency began working with Blue Shield four months ago when the client asked New York-based Taxi to help them “revitalize the brand.” Blue Shield had merged with Blue Cross only in some states, making brand separation difficult, which resulted in the shield logo.

The goal of the campaign is “to reposition the brand, so expect a heavy push on brand image building. We have to close the awareness gap, and we don’t expect to close it over night,” Lavoie said.

Carat, San Francisco, handles the client’s media. Blue Shield spent $5 million advertising in 2005, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.