Healthcare Ad Efforts Ask, ‘What If?’

Two managed-care providers, Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross Blue Shield ask the question “What if?”–for different reasons–in new TV spots breaking this week.
Grey Advertising here breaks its first effort for Kaiser Permanente since winning its $30 million corporate account in January after a review.
The campaign positions Kaiser in Oakland, Calif., as a physician-driven outfit with the new tagline, “Kaiser Permanente. In the hands of doctors.”
“With the typical HMO, medical procedures recommended by doctors need the approval of administrators,” said Grey copywriter Jesse Vendley. “With Kaiser whatever the doctor recommends is what the patient will get.”
Three dramatic TV spots include one that shows a woman in labor in a delivery room. A voiceover asks, “What if there are complications?” Kaiser’s policy of doctor-driven decision making is then emphasized.
The campaign is the first national image effort for Kaiser in several years. In the early ’90s, the former Hal Riney & Partners touted the healthcare provider as a “one-stop shopping HMO” with the tagline, “Different from the ground up.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield takes an aspirational approach in its $100 million campaign via Foote, Cone & Belding in Chicago, which continues the 3-year-old “What if?” tagline.
“We wanted to move on beyond people’s fears about healthcare and emphasize the liberation of not having to worry,” said Brad Berg, FCB’s co-group creative director on the account.
In one spot, men and women walk on the beach. Voiceovers ask questions such as, “What if I want to leave everything behind and teach?” The reply: “What if you didn’t have to worry about healthcare?”
FCB senior vice president and group account director Jim Yardley credited the work with helping FCB retain the $8-12 million BCBS of Florida account in a recent review.
Prior spots had a more worrisome tone, and featured the line “What if you didn’t have to worry about healthcare?”