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HealthNow, Be Protected Later

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HealthNow's strategy for expanding its client base is to convince corporations and consumers to "plan ahead."

A new print, radio and television campaign, created by Arnold in McLean, Va., touts the Buffalo, N.Y.-based insurer's proactive approach to healthcare.

Three 30-second commercials began breaking last week on spot television and cable outlets in upstate New York markets centered around Rochester, Syracuse and Elmira. Print executions will appear in area newspapers as well as periodicals such as Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal.

The campaign tagline, "A plan ahead," flows out of a series of medical mishaps "scheduled" to befall characters depicted in the TV spots.

"We're trying to communicate that this is a health plan that is not only one step ahead of other health plans, but a step ahead of where you are," said Matt Smith, outgoing ex-ecutive creative director at Arnold.

In "Grocery Store," two 20-something jocks meet in a megamart. One invites the other to drop in "for the game." "Oh, I can't," the other replies. "I'm falling off my roof tomorrow, herniating two disks and inflaming my sciatic nerve ... I'll call you when I get out of traction."

A voiceover intones the familiar platitude, "No one plans for these things," then abruptly reverses direction: "We do! Like offering direct access to chiropractic care. Just one of the many proactive benefits we offer."

The "plan ahead" theme carries over in "Conference Room." In this spot, a well-organized corporate executive requests his administrative assistant to "pencil me in for a heart attack. I'll go into full cardiac arrest. They'll bring me back with the paddles."

"Hotel" is set in a honeymoon suite. A proper bellman works his way down a list of amenities including the marble floor, "where you can fall and get a compound fracture of your femur."

"Arnold differentiates us by showing how HealthNow proactively meets our members' needs," said Norah McGuire, senior vice president of marketing and business de-velopment for the client.

Fred Burgos, senior creative director at the agency, oversaw the project. Dan Madole served as art director; Greg Johnston and Don Corrigan were the copywriters. Jim Jenkins of New York's Hungry Man was the director.