2011 Odysseus Award:
BlueCross BlueShield Of WNY Communications Department
In 2010, facing the daunting task of developing strategically relevant communications in the shadow of the new Healthcare Reform Act and an uncertain future in the healthcare industry, Gretchen Fierle, Lori Keane, and the entire BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Communications Department asked a compelling question:
What if we created a brand that not only talked about the importance of healthy living…but also inspired it?
The answer was a brand platform that will help BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York educate, motivate, and engage their members, providers, and business partners for years to come:
“Healthy Changes Everything.”
This simple yet prophetic strategy has enabled the traditionally rigid and corporate image of BCBS become more consumer-friendly and approachable – something that was ultimately reflected in the company’s new brand campaign.
Launched in September of 2010, the campaign enabled Western New Yorkers to interact with and experience the BlueCross BlueShield brand in entirely new ways. For example:
Outdoor: A comprehensive outdoor plan featured single, double, and even triple (consecutive) billboards to deliver fun, positive messages about simple things people could do to live healthier: “Shake Your Beauty.” “Eat crunchier snacks.” “Make new friends.”
Television: Simple :15 spots highlighted “Healthy Changes” that anyone could make: “Move More.” “Try something new.” “Muscle Up.” These spots were not slick, overproduced eyewash – rather, they featured real people enjoying real moments in real home videos. The end result was messages that were more authentic and relevant to the viewer.
Radio: The world’s first “reality radio show” aired every night at 6:05pm for three months on WBEN. Entitled “Healthy Changes Tom,” it followed the journey of Tom, an overweight, out-of-shape 45 year old doing his best to implement healthy changes into his life.
Community Relations: BlueCross BlueShield announced a major commitment to Western New York’s “Helping Our Heroes,” an organization dedicated to helping local veterans get the “one-stop” support and assistance they need. They also helped create and produce “The Healthy Zone” on WGRZ, a half-hour news and lifestyle program dedicated to imparting healthy advice to the community every weekday at 11:30am.
As the healthcare business becomes more consumer-centric, it is imperative that healthcare insurance providers develop brands that consumers not only trust, but also want and choose to be associated with. Gretchen Fierle, Lori Keane, and the entire BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Communications Department understand this, and have led their company in being the first in their industry to execute this strategy.
Their unwavering commitment to using strategic marketing and advertising in an extraordinary way makes them deserving recipients of the inaugural Odysseus Award.
It is with great pleasure that we recognize Gretchen Fierle, Lori Keane, and the entire BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York Communications Department as the recipients of the 2011 Odysseus Award.