Open enrollment is now upon us, and one insurance startup is looking to put a distinctively happy spin on healthcare--with puppets.
Bright Health, a Minneapolis-based, venture-backed health insurance company, recently debuted a new campaign that aims to lighten the vibe around the topic in a campaign from newly rebranded agency Fig, formerly known as Figliulo & Partners. One spot, for example, shows a diverse cast of the plush characters sitting in a waiting room--and, in what feels like a complete detour from the real world, they all break out into song, whistling a happy, catchy tune as if Sesame Street took over the doctor’s office--while the (human) receptionist raises a skeptical brow.
According to Fig CCO Scott Vitrone, the campaign didn’t start out with puppets. “It was written as live action--with funny bright moments, but I sat at my desk one day and this image of a puppet came up and I thought it might be interesting to do with puppets for a few reasons,” he says. “It goes with the name ‘Bright Health’ and when you see that visual it immediately picks you up.”
Moreover, using puppets allows the creative to go into unexpected places. “If you’re working with puppets you can do things you couldn’t do with live action,” Vitrone says.
In another spot, for example, a v.o. announces how the company’s Medicare Advantage plan “comes with everything you’d expect and more” such as dental, vision and hearing--as we see an elderly female puppet get ready for the day--by putting her dentures in and placing her plush eyeballs and ears on her head.
A third ad shows a puppet in a wheelchair with two broken arms high-fiving hospital staff as he travels through a hallway. “If some of this were live action, it could be a little much,” Vitrone says.
The category was a new one for the agency. “I’d never worked in the healthcare space before and I don’t think it’s a category that creative people run to,” Vitrone says. But as offerings in a world previously dominated by big companies grow--companies are going to need to get creative to be heard.
One of the most visible startups in the space is Oscar, but while that brand started out targeting the Millennial, freelance set in New York, Bright Health aims to grab the attention of underserved communities. “The co-founders felt there must be a better way to help people who have to find healthcare on their own, in a market that is not nice, expensive and takes advantage of the underprivileged,” says FIG Partner and CEO Judith Carr-Rodriguez.
Bright Health was founded in 2016 by healthcare veterans including former United Healthcare CEO Bob Sheehy. It began in Colorado, Alabama and Arizona and then moved into nine more markets this year, after raising a $160 million of funding in 2017.