Headlands Goes to Heartland For Blue Cross Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO – Last year S.F. startup Headlands Communications went up against Chicago’s J. Walter Thompson and Foote, Cone & Belding to win the $5-million Blue Cross of Illinois account. Now the agency has broken a campaign that even looks like it was done by a heartland native. From rural landscapes to quirky cityscapes like an El reflected in a building it passes, the campaign captures the state from an insider’s point of view. It was the result, said Headlands principals Ellen Szydlowski and Jim Pappademas, of five people’s efforts after two weeks of location scouting, a long time by most commercial standards.
Actually, the dark horse team never promised the client they would shoot in Illinois when they pitched the business. But as they began working on the campaign, it became clear that Blue Cross’s key point of difference with its competitors was its history in the community. ‘The client said, ‘we don’t want to see a travelog. We want to see secrets,’ said Pappademas, the creative director. ‘We wanted little things to happen in every scene that would convince the viewer we knew the community.’
‘All of their major competitors are headquartered elsewhere,’ said Szydlowski, who handles account management. ‘We wanted to underscore the fact that they know Illinois like no other insurer.’
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)