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10 of the best health insurance TV ads

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Did you know that Americans spend almost five hours a day watching television? That’s according to Nielsen’s “Total Audience Report” for Q4 2014, and it equates to almost 76 days a year sitting on a couch — so advertisers better make every second worth it for their audience.  

Luckily, most brands have noticed that some people really do love classic, inspiring or funny TV ads and have uploaded most of this content to video websites like YouTube in the hopes that people share them via social media. And, they’re right. Nothing brings a smile to someone’s face like sharing a favorite ad.

We have scoured the Internet for some of the funniest, most inspiring health insurance TV ads. Our list includes carriers and state-based exchanges in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) marketplaces. Take a look, and then share your own favorite health insurance TV spot in the comments below. 

10. Highmark: All for health

If you’re from Pennsylvania, you know what the visual of the capitol building invokes: pride, the will to persevere and a sense of community spirit. “Let’s do anything for health,” says the narrator, while the visuals shift to people exercising and health care professionals taking care of patients. And cue the baby at the end, of course.

Highmark, a diversified health and wellness system based in Pittsburgh with affiliates that operate health insurance plans in Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia, makes a 30-second TV spot that’s informative, clear and all about health.

9. Independence Blue Cross: Live fearless

Take a kid and have him or her narrate what’s happening. Add a dash of inspiring music and stunning visuals, maybe add more tiny kids dancing flamenco, and you’ve got advertising gold. Tugging at the heart strings — and mentioning the word “free” a few times, which appeals to every American — Independence Blue Cross’s TV spot nails it from the very beginning. It offers people the freedom that peace of mind brings when your health and your health insurance are well protected.

8. Blue Cross Blue Shield Association: Open enrollment 2015

This ad gets straight to the point: how to re-enroll in your health exchange in 2015 and how the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association can help consumers do just that. The ad in itself is a very simple presentation that uses icons, charts, photos and animation to show how to enroll, what dates to keep in mind and, of course, what you need to know about BCBS.

Straight to the point with no roundabouts, this ad would make for an excellent video to send to clients via email and share via social media.

7. Covered California: I’m in

(To view the video, go here.)

Including testimonials in letters that you can show to your clients or prospects (or incorporating these testimonials to your marketing strategy in other ways) can be a great technique to present your value proposition. (Just make sure you stay compliant.)

This TV spot is shot like it’s a documentary, presenting individuals’ problems, what they did to solve them and how Covered California, the health insurance marketplace in California, helped them get through it. The ad is just 30 seconds long; it’s so concise it works.

6. BeWellNM: The accidental spokesman

The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, BeWellNM, put out this funny and sometimes over-the-top TV ad. The commercial features a man who is a walking disaster, running into one accident after another. 

It’s a different ad that catches your attention by how ridiculous the slapstick comedy really is. See if you can identify the lady at the end that the “accident-causing guy” starts flirting with (it’s a twist of the writers’ cleverness).

5. Cigna: Together all the way

There are some studies that suggest that in order to be successful at anything, you need a support group. Cigna takes on that role for viewers of this ad, saying that they’re on your side all the way, from the times you’re trying to be healthy to moments when, well, you give in to the craving of a huge cheesy hamburger.

“It’s hard on your own,” says Cigna, which is why they are there rooting for you to get well. There’s something very real and personal about this ad, which is the heart of its appeal.

4. MNSure: Paul goes water skiing

Either Minnesotans are the coolest people in the country or they have the weirdest sense of humor ever. In fact, this ad reminded me of some Dutch insurance ads from Delta-Lloyd that we featured last year (and which you can watch here). 

Paul isn’t your typical Minnesotan guy (I’m sure they don’t all look like lumberjacks), and he gets hurt while water skiing. “Minnesota, land of 10,000 reasons to get health insurance,” says the voice-over lady, while poor Paul is on the ground screaming, “Babe! Little help?” 

This ad is funny, quirky and really draws you in. You feel bad for Paul, even if he isn’t a real boy. We hope he is covered by MNSure, a state-based exchange.

3. Emblem Health: Our legacy of care

Why is it that we always love to look back at old recordings of times gone by? That’s what Emblem Health is trying to appeal to here: great care that has been central to their mission since they started in this industry. “What care feels like, in the neighborhood” permeates throughout the TV spot, with shots of people from yesterday, today and tomorrow living and going about their daily routines in New York City.

2. Humana: Rose’s story

“There’s no place like home,” we remember Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz saying over and over again. And there definitely is no place like one’s home, especially when one has spent many nights at a hospital recovering from illness. Especially for older people who need home care or assistance, it can be very difficult to get back into a routine and be able to do things by themselves, in their own homes. 

That’s where Humana comes in with the story of a woman named Rose who is grateful for having the assistance that’s helping her live in her own home. The impact that testimonials have on people is very real, and this type of ad can help others in a similar situation seek out more information about how to keep their loved ones living in the comfort and familiarity of their own homes, instead of opting for a nursing home.

1. Kaiser Permanente: Ode to offense

Many of us love basketball, and some of us love NBA all-star Stephen Curry even more. Kaiser Permanente signed him up to be part of their “Offense is the best defense” ad campaign (thank you, Kaiser P.!). Their ad campaign coincided with the start of the 2015 NBA playoffs, which we now know was a triumph for the Golden State Warriors — ahem — Stephen Curry and his team.

More than watching Curry himself star in the ad and show off his b-ballin’ skills, the ad presents people in their day-to-day lives, doing healthy things to have a great offense against illness. It catches your attention with the repeating “offense” chant by a cheer squad. It’s so successful that it even makes me want to take a shot of that green stuff, only in health’s and Curry’s name. Salud!

See also:

Throwback Thursday: The 6 best insurance ads from yesteryear

The 10 most memorable insurance ads ever

The 10 best international life and health insurance ads 


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