One Medical touts post-COVID new beginnings in first-ever TV spot

Commercial will air during CNN’s coverage of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration

Published On
Jan 15, 2021

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After COVID-19, no one will be the same person they were before the pandemic. The virus has changed consumer behavior, altered fitness habits and inspired new passions; some of those transformations serve as a fresh beginning, according to a new campaign from One Medical, the membership-based provider of health care services. The San Francisco-based company is airing its first-ever TV commercial on Wednesday during CNN’s coverage of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

The 60-second spot titled "The Plunge" was created with One Medical’s agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners. The serene film quietly captures open-water swimmer Mina Rhoden's daily ritual of swimming in Bay Area waters. It opens in the early morning, with Rhoden sipping her coffee before she walks out onto a pier and jumps in. Alluding to the end of the pandemic, a voiceover asks “When all this is all over, who will you be?” 

This is the first time Rhoden has appeared in an ad—she decided to appear because she "wanted to inspire more people of color and women of different body types to get in the water and try open water swimming," she said in a statement.

The spot was helmed by Lance Acord of Park Pictures, director of notable ads such as Nike's "Dream Crazy" and Volkswagen's "The Force" starring a mini Darth Vader.

January, when most consumers are keen on fresh starts, is usually a busy marketing time for One Medical, according to Chief Marketing Officer Doug Sweeny. This year, amid the ongoing virus and its health care effects, the brand decided to take the extra step of going on TV.

“The timing felt right,” he says, noting that One Medical went into development for the spot over the summer and produced it in December. One Medical has previously run out-of-home and local ads, but now, with fewer people walking around and seeing billboards, for example, the brand decided on TV.

“We felt like we had to shift our playbook,” says Sweeny.

The spot will air during the inauguration in order to capture the millions of viewers expected to tune in. While One Medical is 14 years old, it is still a relatively new brand that many consumers across the country have yet to know. This push aims to change that, while it also allows One Medical to connect with customers on an emotional level.

“If COVID taught us anything as a society, it taught us carpe diem, seize the day—that idea that every moment matters is really powerful and this idea that all of our health and wellness is in our own hands,” says Sweeny. “We wanted to engage on an emotional level with people and create a challenge, so we’re asking, ‘Who will you be when this is all over?’”

Hear more about One Medical at Ad Age Next: Health & Wellness, a virtual conference taking place on Feb. 11. Get your ticket here.