UniCare Boasts ‘Medical Miracles’ In Humorous New RPA Campaign

Rubin Postaer and Associates’ first campaign for UniCare uses a tongue-in-cheek strategy to address the frustration people can feel about the lack of options in other health plans.
Two TV spots, which broke in spot markets around the country last week, suggest UniCare creates “medical miracles” by allowing members to choose a specialist without a going through a primary care physician–a not-so-subtle dig at health plans requiring that extra step.
One ad in the estimated $20 million campaign spoofs “reality-based” TV shows such as Strange Universe and Unsolved Mysteries–a notable departure from the warm images of families and doctors common to the category.
The spot starts with a dour host introducing a show called Medical Miracles. He explains that a surveillance camera has captured a woman and her friend discussing their health plans at a shopping mall. On the tape, the woman says she likes UniCare because she can choose her doctor and her plan, “and they’re not a bunch of …” The scene then cuts back to the host, who has a “professional expert” explain that the woman appears to be of sound mind and “perhaps she really is happy with her health plan.” The tagline is, “The cure for healthcare,” with a voiceover, “Brought to you by UniCare.”
“If we don’t take chances [in the advertising] execution, we won’t be seen or heard,” said Steven Miller, vice president of marketing for UniCare parent WellPoint Health Networks in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Another spot features a “re-enactment” in which a man makes a phone call and “actually gets to see the physician of his choice … a medical miracle!”
A print ad, set to run in May issues of healthcare publications, combines unusual but true medical stories with information about UniCare’s flexible health plans. It declares: “Man makes appointment with specialist of his choice without a referral!”
In healthcare, “so many expectations aren’t being met,” said Nancy Kritzler, RPA’s management supervisor on the account. “It takes a miracle [to] see your doctor without a referral.”
The associate creative directors on the campaign were Mark Erwin and Wendi Knox. The art director was Chuck Blackwell, and the copywriter was Todd Carey.
RPA, Santa Monica, Calif., won the account in February 1997, beating Bozell Worldwide, Costa Mesa, Calif., in a review.