Responses by Sinan Dagli, group creative director, Jeff Hornung, creative director and Jake Bayham, strategy director, BSSP
Background: As a nonprofit health plan provider focused on improving the health of all Californians, Blue Shield of California’s mission has become all the more critical during the unprecedented healthcare crisis of COVID-19. And, with the unfortunate politicization of this particular crisis, Blue Shield recognizes that its role extends beyond plan provider, as Californians look to trusted leaders for clarity and direction. This is exactly why the brand has pivoted its messaging, underscoring the importance of wearing masks, and combating the misinformation that has run counter to the live-saving recommendation from the science and healthcare community, at large.
Reasoning: Unfortunately, the easiest and most effective tool for combating the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our community safe has become the subject of political misinformation and stigmatization: masks. According to the scientific and medical experts, masks significantly limit the spread of the virus and ultimately save lives, yet there has been a concerted effort to discredit this assessment and paint the act of wearing one as elitism or fear-mongering. Recognition of this cultural tension led to a simple thought that strikes at the heart of the matter and became the basis of this campaign: Medical, Not Political.
Challenges: Even though wearing masks should not be associated with a trend, we wanted to make sure that we were timely with the launch of the one-minute spot “Save Lives.” Knowing that we had to be efficient with our approach, instead of writing the concept in a script format and presenting it to Blue Shield of California, we prototyped it first with found footage, which made for a quick and decisive turnaround.
Favorite details: The tone of the photography. The earnest imagery coupled with the copy makes for a simple, empathetic message.
Specific demands: The mutual trust between our clients, the agency and our photographer Alex Farnum was critical during this project. Because of our relationship, we were able to move quickly as Alex captured real people across California over the course of four days, without a crew or agency present. This gave us the ability to capture a huge library of imagery. The hardest thing was choosing which image to pick.
Anything new: This project felt more like a reminder versus learning something new. We were once again reminded that advertising can have a message and a point of view, especially when you’re not afraid of what people think. We are grateful for having our clients at Blue Shield of California who don’t shy away from risks and doing the right thing.