Insurer Targets Younger Adults in DRTV Spot

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Direct response agency DMW is trying to meet the challenge of designing a DRTV short-form spot for a health insurance program aimed at young adults by appealing to their sense of fun and hammering home the point that medical benefits are necessary.

Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield's DirectBlue health insurance product, a preferred provider program, is available to people younger than 65, but the insurance provider is targeting consumers 25 to 35 years old in an integrated campaign that also includes direct mail and banner advertisements. Highmark sought to generate interest among independent people without traditional health benefits from their employers, including those who are self-employed.

Launched Oct. 1, the two spots -- one 60 seconds, the other 90 seconds -- feature a young female artist in her home studio. A toll-free number for more information is featured in both spots, which are aimed at generating leads and applications for DirectBlue.

The artist theme is convenient in that it provides a novel way of presenting visual elements, such as animations and text-on-screen. All graphics in the spot appear in the picture frames that are props on the set.

A young artist was a perfect role model because, as a young business owner, she represents the type of consumer Highmark wishes to reach, said Wendy Vagnoni, creative director at DMW. The actress goes to great lengths to explain, in a playful way, that even young people require health insurance because unexpected circumstances can arise.

"You need to find someone to convince this marketplace that this is necessary," Vagnoni said. "You have to establish need to establish interest in the product."

The DRTV spot, dubbed "Blue Attitude," is being tested against a more traditional direct response ad. The traditional spot is composed strictly of editorial content including graphics and voice-overs -- no live actors -- and is aimed at being purely informational.

No results on either campaign are yet available.

"We really don't know what to expect," said Mary Smucker, senior account supervisor at DMW. "It's a new product. We obviously have high hopes for it."

Highmark operates in western Pennsylvania and covers 29 counties. The target area for the campaign covered the regions around Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Erie.

DMW did not disclose the exact time slots in which it planned to run the spot. However, the agency said it would pick slots that typically do well in the under-65 age bracket during the first two weeks, then adjust the focus to target younger males, including weekend sports events.

If weekend rotations generate significant numbers of leads, fixed buys will be purchased to target specific audiences, DMW said.

In addition to the two DRTV spots, Highmark is testing a direct mail campaign targeting 10,000 to 15,000 consumers. The blue No. 10 envelope contains a personalized letter and response card.

DirectBlue banner ads are running on the Web site of two area television stations, as well as national health sites. The banners are targeted to appear only to those with telephone area code prefixes within Highmark's service area.

Newspaper inserts are also running in area publications. The inserts were designed by a different agency.

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