Creative Campaigns

Web World: Aetna ads speak the ‘online language’
By T.W. Siebert
From umpires who’ve lost touch with reality to the panic of an expectant father, McKinney & Silver melds exaggerated scenarios and computer icons to inform people about the depth of information available on the Net from Aetna U.S. Healthcare.
One spot in the estimated $6 million effort, which broke nationwide Sept. 20 on national, cable and spot TV, opens on a Little League game, with bases loaded and the tension rising. As the camera freezes on a screaming coach, a cursor clicks on him, revealing a menu box that reads: “Hepatitis, hernia, herpes.” The cursor then scans down and clicks on “high blood pressure.”
When the action continues, there’s a collision at home plate, spurring another box to call up “Obstetricians, oncologists, ophthalmologists” before choosing “pediatricians.” When the umpire calls the runner out, though he’s clearly safe, the menu bar trails down to “hallucinations.”
“We wanted to demonstrate all the cool stuff offered by Aetna online, but do it in a way consumers would find appealing and relevant,” says co-creative director and copywriter Liz Paradise. “[Thinking up] the scenarios was the biggest challenge.”
“Diner” features a waitress carrying a heavy tray (“lower back pain”), stepping on a customer’s foot (“painkillers”) and dropping the food in front of the would-be diners (“weight loss”).
Print ads running in USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, dailies in Aetna’s top 20 markets and national magazines center on the computer mouse. One ad citing stress reduction tips features a mouse with a tangled cord; another touting childbirth information shows a small mouse nestled against a larger one.
“It’s difficult to speak the online language, and covering healthcare makes it tougher,” says executive creative director David Baldwin. “But everyone gets the mouse. We can do a hundred campaigns with it.”
Aetna U.S. Healthcare
Agency: McKinney & Silver Raleigh, N.C.
Executive Creative Director: David Baldwin
Group Creative Director/Copywriter: Liz Paradise
Group Creative Director/Art Director: Mark Oakley
Print Copywriter: Ken Marcus
Director: Paul Giraud
Producer: Regina Brizzolara
Production Co.: HSI Productions Venice, Calif.

The Naked Truth: spots expose the inner workings of business
By Andrew McMains
A well-dressed man arrives to check out a company as a prospective investment–and he can’t believe his eyes. Everyone from the receptionist to the CEO is in the buff.
Welcome to Doremus’ $10 million campaign for, a Web site that provides analysts’ reports on more than 20,000 companies. TV spots broke today; radio and print ads broke this summer and outdoor breaks in October and November.
The pixilated “nudity” in the “Naked” spot is a metaphor for looking beyond a company’s surface to reveal its inner workings, says Lauren Marrus, svp of global marketing at the New York client.
The campaign’s mission: define the category, the brand and why investors–both individuals and corporations–should use it. “It is provocative stuff but with good reason,” says Danny Gregory, the agency’s chief creative officer.
Doremus also produced “Subtitles,” a TV spot that employs captions to show what a CEO is really saying. The ad resembles a financial news show, right down to the stock ticker across the bottom of the screen. As the CEO says, “I just hope I can contribute to the success ahead,” the caption reads: “I hope they don’t can me.”
Both spots were directed by Hank Perlman, of Snickers and ESPN fame, who wanted to do something “silly” and “smart.” His inspiration? The subtitled rooftop scene in Annie Hall and early Saturday Night Live episodes, such as Paul Simon singing “Still Crazy After All These Years” dressed as a turkey right before Thanksgiving.
“If it’s a funny idea, I think smart is the key,” Perlman says.
Agency: Doremus, New York
Chief Creative Officer: Danny Gregory
Art Directors: Jeff Griffith, Larry Lowenthal
Copywriters: Joel Nash, Adam Cook
Producer: Catherine Abate
Director: Hank Perlman, Hungry Man