Health Net Turns to Ad Américas for Latino Push

In a bid to curry favor with the state’s Latino population, California healthcare provider Health Net has turned to Ad Américas for a campaign.

The Woodland Hills, Calif.-based client hopes the $2 million effort will widen its consumer base by appealing to the traditionally underserved Latino population. The win also underscores the vitality of Ad Américas, according to its president, Liz Castells-Heard.

Established in 1985, the L.A. agency operated as a subsidiary of Davis Elen until 1998, when Castells-Heard joined as a partner. Though Davis Elen retains an ownership stake and the two share office space, Castells-Heard said Ad Américas is now positioned as a separate com pany operating independently and working with general-market shops on the Latino portion of accounts.

Health Net had worked with Ad Amér icas and other shops on projects. “This is the first time they are going full-throttle into the Hispanic market with a major Hispanic agency,” said Castells-Heard. There was no formal review.

In addition to their experience on Health Net, a number of Ad Américas staffers have worked at other agencies on various healthcare accounts, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the now-defunct Latino plan Viva Health, said Castells-Heard.

Initial advertising will support the Salud con Health Net group of health plans launched in October, which provide affordable care for Latinos, who make up over one-third of California’s population, and their family members in Mexico.

“This focus is really a new one for us,” said Health Net spokeswoman Lisa Kalustian. The message, she said, will be “culturally sensitive.”

Radio and print ads are slated to break within the next month, said Castells-Heard. Also in the mix are direct mail and in-community promotional events. Work will target employers at small businesses and Latino consumers. It was unclear if Health Net’s current tagline, “California’s health plan,” will continue.

Health Net has more than 2.2 million members. It has contracts with nearly 46,000 physicians, 400 hospitals and 4,300 pharmacies.