NJ health insurer plans throwback marketing campaign

NEWARK, NJ: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is seeking to invoke a time when doctors made house calls, and getting medical care was a whole lot simpler.

NEWARK, NJ: Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is seeking to invoke a time when doctors made house calls, and getting medical care was a whole lot simpler.

The state's largest health insurer is launching a new image campaign with the quaint, old-fashioned medical bag as its visual centerpiece.

It is working with Winning Strategies to promote a new website, thebagisback.com, as well as to highlight three programs that make getting medical care simpler, such as a reminder system for annual tests and screenings.

To develop the $4 million advertising and PR push, the company surveyed internal and external constituents, looking for how best to refresh its eight year-old "Making Healthcare Work" tagline.

In the past decade, surveys have shown that consumers have become increasingly dissatisfied with the health insurance plans.

"Most people find that the healthcare system is too complex," said Tom Rubino, director of public affairs. The campaign is seeking to create an "emotional connection back to a time when healthcare was easier."

The PR team is planning a summer campaign that will feature a "Bag is Back" blimp crisscrossing the state.

Contests - like the chance to win a blimp ride - will reinforce the campaign, Rubino noted.

Winning Strategies will also coordinate media outreach to general, business, and trade publications.

This is the first image campaign for the health insurer since Horizon merged with Blue Cross Blue Shield in 1998, and Winning Strategies created a blimp "to put its new brand on the horizon," said agency chairman James McQueeny.

He added that new campaign is designed to "make their members feel less like paperwork and more like people."

The health insurer is targeting both current and potential members.

"We're obviously always looking for new customers, but we're also speaking to our customer base," Rubino said.

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