Health Co-op Breaks FCB Work

Having dismissed its last ad agency after only a month, Seattle-based insurance provider Group Health Cooperative seems determined to show it has a good sense of humor. New work created by Foote, Cone & Belding uses sight gags to remind young professionals that quality healthcare is important.

The Seattle agency was awarded the account in June shortly after the client cut ties to DDB, also in Seattle, over creative differences [Adweek, June 10]. Sharon Thomson, Group Health’s director of advertising and marketing communications, said FCB’s campaign is budgeted at more than $1 million and aimed at consumers 25-34.

“This is a market that is important to our future growth,” said Thomson. “It’s under-represented, and it’s important that we get them before they’ve bonded with a physician.”

Three 30-second TV spots tout such offerings as online prescriptions and top-ranked physicians. One shows a young woman racing for an elevator, only to get wedged between the doors. After struggling to pry herself loose, she topples into the elevator as a voice over says, “Even if online prescriptions aren’t important now, well, someday they might be.”

In a second ad, young people find themselves stuck upside down on a faulty roller coaster. The voiceover suggests that someday they might need access to top-ranked physicians. In an ad touting Group Health’s sports doctors, a guy is seen cleaning a messy house in his stocking feet. He slides across the hardwood floor, yelling, as a crash is heard.

The campaign follows research by FCB indicating that healthcare is not on the radar screen of young consumers, said agency executive creative director Mary Knight. “We’re trying to convince these folks that Group Health understands them and capture the fleeting moments when healthy people think about healthcare,” she said.

Knight said FCB also tried to give the ads an “everyman quality” by using common situations.

Group Health’s last campaign, from Grady Britton in Portland, Ore., featured testimonials that Thomson said included “the things every healthcare advertiser is saying.” The company did not run any work from DDB.

FCB’s TV spots are running in Washington state on network and cable. The campaign also includes four radio spots and transit ads. The campaign runs through November to coincide with Group Health’s open-enrollment period.