Ad Review: AHIP “Illness”

This ad is the best ad I’ve seen to date in the health care battle. Now admittedly, that’s not saying much. Most of the stuff out there is just, well… most of it is pretty forgettable.

Actually, when I say it’s the best I’ve seen, I should say, it’s the best I’ve heard. I was sitting across from my business partner today, and he was playing the ad. The sound, the copy, the woman vocalizing, that got my attention, and what happened from there…

Form (on a scale A-F): B+

Like I said, the spot gets your attention, at least my ear’s attention. “Illness doesn’t care where you live…,” with that gravelly voice and the woman vocalizing behind it, I was hooked from the first second.

I really like the simple portraits of people that populate the spot. In the beginning they layer them like a picture book, with the background images in black and white and the main image in color to focus your attention.

Later, after revealing their message (“let’s fix health care”) they bring them up full screen, but they don’t rush them.

“…and the words pre-existing condition become a thing of the past.” Wow. Bold statements. I’m interested now, where is this spot going.

You know, I’m not a big fan of the stand by your ad disclaimers. You know, the “I’m so and so, and I approve this message.” But in this case, what a let down. “We’re America’s Health Insurance companies….” If this were an ad, I’d cue the record scratch sound effect here. (Why do we use the record scratch anyways? When was the last time you heard that sound except to express surprise?)

Function (on a scale A-F): C

Huh? America’s Health Care Companies? What? Didn’t they say make pre-existing condition a thing of the past?

I really wasn’t sure how to grade out this ad for function. It’s great, it gets my attention, moves me emotionally, gets me to say, “hell yea,” then it leaves me speechless and confused.

I just don’t find it believable that America’s Health Insurance Plans (that’s how the disclaimer reads) are really interested in passing health care reform. Do you? Seriously?

While the ad is great, in the end, I don’t believe it. It’s a wasted message because it seems inauthentic. I just can’t get over that hump, and this ad doesn’t help me do it.

Either the people who created it felt like they could blow one by people, or that it didn’t matter, or they could get over the obstacle with the lyrical beginning. They couldn’t, it did, and the spot seems like a contradiction in the end — a great big lie with a candy coating and a cherry on top.

Final Grade (on a scale A-F): F

I wasn’t angry before this review, but I am now. I feel like I was tricked. They got me to care, then they pulled the rug out from under me.

This ad does a great job of presenting itself — auditorily it’s really great, visually it’s interesting if not innovative. But the message doesn’t connect with the messenger. That’s a big problem in my book, and my reason for an F.

What could they have done different? Maybe take a moment to explain themselves, even a simple line like, “You may be surprised that America’s Health Care Companies support health care reform, but we do…,” something to acknowledge the incongruity.

They don’t, and I feel dirty about actually caring about their message for the 24 seconds previous.

One Response to “Ad Review: AHIP “Illness””

  1. Jim Tambaurro Says:

    I completely agree about being tricked; the health care companies are advocating for their own change? Give me a break.

    My lay perspective was bothered by the imagery. The visual was to a young audience, but there was nothing there that said “a young person can get sick just as well as an old one.” All of those folks looked healthy as horses.

    I did like the script.

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