By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon
Minnesota went for humor.
Its ads promoting the state’s new health exchange show a klutzy Paul Bunyan, crashing while water skiing, nailing his thigh with an axe and tumbling off his roof. The tag line: Minnesota: Land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance. (Click here to see the water skiing ad.)
Oregon could have spoofed the hilarity of “Portlandia,” but instead, went oddly locavore and featured Oregon musicians in ads critics have panned as “trippy.” Cover Oregon’s tag line: Long Live Oregonians. (Click here to see Live Long in Oregon).
California focuses on its beautiful scenery. Covered California did an ad called “Signs” that shows off places like its coastline and the Golden Gate Bridge. In golden Hollywood light, beautiful people, like a little girl who has just lost her front teeth, grin because they now live in a “new state of health.”
Colorado plans to unveil its second round of ads when Connect for Health formally launches next week. This time, Colorado will follow California’s lead. The new ads show people around the state with bubbles over their heads, showing that “here,” “here” and “here,” they can get health insurance.
In Colorado’s initial round of ads unveiled earlier this year, people shopping online in their kitchens magically “won” the World Series, the Triple Crown and a trip to Vegas. (Click here to view those ads.)
The new ads tap into that same theme with the message: “All over Colorado, the winning has started.”
Then, the ads show couples strolling along downtown riverfronts, men gathered in barber shops and people working in bakeries. The message is clear: all of these people can now buy health insurance.
Tom Leydon of Pilgrim Advertising said the new strategy is to get people to buy.
In the first round of advertising, Leydon said the goal was to “raise awareness for something that very few people knew about.”
“Now our goal is to get people to sign up,” he said.
Rather than going for humor, he said the Colorado ads show “compassion” and try to get people to take action.
“We want them to feel understood and we want them to start buying,” Leydon said.
Among the target groups are young people. The exchange is trying to market cheap, catastrophic plans to them that they’ll be calling CYA (as in “cover your ‘bum’ plans. Those ads will be especially skewed to young men.
Ads are also targeting Latinos since they have the lowest rates of health insurance in Colorado. (Click here to read more about the exchange’s strategies to target Spanish speakers: Health insurance like buying a BMW for some Spanish speakers.)
Leydon said the core groups he’s trying to reach are “young invincibles,” Spanish speakers, small business owners — especially people in the construction and restaurant businesses — along with uninsured people up to age 64.
Pilgrim does not yet have data on how many people the first round of advertising reached, but the firm had an uphill battle since preliminary research showed very few people know what a health exchange is and many people think Congress long ago killed Obamacare.
Perceptions may change next week when messages bombard people to start shopping for health care.