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Highmark launches humorous campaign to encourage patients to really talk to their docs during physicals

People often don’t ask the right questions, if any at all, when they go to the doctor. Highmark Inc., the fourth largest Blue Cross Blue Shield-affiliated health insurance provider in the US, is out to change the way people interact with their docs with a new ad campaign called “Ask the Doctor.”

The campaign, done through Partners + Napier, includes digital banners, mobile ads, direct mail and TV spots. The spots, directed by Chris Hooper of L.A.-based Raucous Content, are centered around Highmark’s recently introduced “Doc Talk Checklist,” which personalizes the right questions to ask your doctor at your annual physical. They use broad humor to remind patients to talk with their doctors and that asking the right questions can help them take control of their health.

In one, a woman is covered in sticky notes and peels them off to ask her incredulous doctor things like “Should I be carbo loading?” and “Is kale mandatory?” In another, an older man is projecting his health questions on the wall in the doctor’s office, asking, “Category one: exercise. When should one start?”

A third spot shows a woman surrounded by file boxes filled with medical records that her husband helped haul into the doctor’s office.

Hooper has also directed humorous commercials for such major advertisers as DirecTV, ESPN and State Farm.

“The spots are designed to be funny and memorable, while offering patients the utility of an easily downloadable checklist,” said Partners + Napier creative director Mike Baron. The checklist is available to anyone with Medicare, not only Highmark members.

The 30-second commercials – each with 15-second versions – will air in multiple markets throughout Pennsylvania first before rolling into other markets later this year.

“These spots are powerful because they let patients know that it’s OK--even encouraged — to take the time to talk to your doctor. Doctors need to hear from patients. Plus, the spots make you laugh,” said Partners + Napier account director Kelly Chapman.

This marks the second major campaign created and produced for Highmark by Partners + Napier, which is making a concerted push to build upon its credentials in the health and wellness space. The Rochester, New York-based agency won the Highmark business in 2016.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

All by Kyle