Last year, Dr. Derek Shepherd (a.k.a. McDreamy on “Grey’s Anatomy”), along with several other TV doctors, teamed up with Cigna to encourage people to go for their annual check-ups. Now, after seeing momentum in the last 12 months, Cigna is calling on more TV doctors to continue the campaign.
Cigna VP-Global Branding Stephen Cassell says the company saw hundreds of thousands of people across the country getting preventative care following the campaign launch last year, but more to the point for Cigna, it achieved a double-digit boost in its own customer base getting checkups in markets where ads ran. The company says its positive brand sentiment increased 250 percent in the first month of the campaign.
“When trying to change behavior, seeing in the numbers that people took action is an incredible thing to accomplish,” says Cassell.
The question for the brand this year was how to “take something that’s so well-received and build off of that?” says Cassell. To answer this, the brand turned to consumer comments and social media feedback. Cassell says customers requested particular TV doctors in the next phase of the campaign, which is how Neil Patrick Harris and Kate Walsh came onboard. Harris played Dr. Doogie Howser in the ’90s and Walsh stars as Dr. Addison Montgomery on Grey’s Anatomy. Donald Faison, who played Dr. Chris Turk on Scrubs, and Dempsey have stayed on for round two of the campaign.
The 2017 TV Doctors initiative will run across TV, digital and social media. McCann is Cigna’s creative agency, while OMD handles media and Edelman manages PR.
Cassell says the goal this year is to reach even younger audiences, which is why it plans on experimenting with Instagram and Snapchat for the campaign. “Most people until their early 20s are on their parents’ health insurance and we want to reach them and start to get them on that path of preventive care,” he says.
Cigna also launched a grassroots Health Improvement tour this year, which is a mobile van that travels around the country to give people free health screenings. So far, the effort has provided nearly 7,000 people with free biometric screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI across 65 cities. In February, the brand starting using the Microsoft HoloLens technology for health screenings in the form of an interactive BioBall game that allows users to find out their blood pressure and BMI.