Blue Shield's kvetch glory hole

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Blue Shield of California - 'Chatbox'
Blue Shield of California - 'Chatbox'
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Would you stick your head in a big metal box and confess your health care woes to a disembodied director? Many would, quite willingly, it turns out, when in a participatory twist for their work with Blue Shield of California, Taxi/New York erected a small confessional for passers by in California to talk all about their insurance reservations. The kvetch glory hole was manned by @radical director Greg Brunkalla, whose head was both a focal point and a coach for volunteers. The contributions from real folks join TV spots from the campaign as content on the chatbox microsite. Wayne Best, executive creative director at Taxi, says Californians were much more open with their issues than anyone had anticipated. "People were more willing to share personal information [about their medical history] than we were comfortable playing," Best says. "Some people went to areas where even Blue Shields's lawyers didn't feel comfortable. They were very excited to have an outlet; it gave them a forum to actually vent." The crew traveled to Blue Shield's four largest markets, San Diego, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Sacramento and gathered 110 testimonials. It'd be easy to raise questions about a marketer trumping up criticisms of its own practices, but Best says the changing corporate culture at Blue Shield stands to broaden from the honesty let loose as much as consumers do in getting the impression Blue Shield is listening. Additionally, along with changes in the way Blue Shield does customer service, in the call center and with other forms of feedback, Best says the campaign is a valuable internal motivator. "It works to consumers to say 'We want an open dialogue,' but it also gives [Blue Shield] a kick in the [butt] internally, it works on a culture they're working towards, to solving problems."
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