Responses by Matthew Curry, chief creative officer, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP)
Background: The purpose of Blue Shield of California’s latest campaign and one-minute spot “More Than a Color,” was to underscore the brand’s values—by taking a stand on some of the topical health-related issues the U.S. is facing today, such as access to healthcare for all, regardless of race, ethnicity or sexuality, as well as the need for emotional resiliency, and rebuilding communities devastated by tragedy.
Reasoning: BSSP developed this campaign in response to a strategic ask to highlight the stories of Californians who are up against real health and health-related challenges every day. Not only did we set out to highlight these relevant and topical scenarios, but also we cast real people, not actors, who have experienced or are experiencing the issues we portrayed. It was important to showcase the bravery that Blue Shield of California stands for, both in their continued support of their communities, as a non-profit, and also, in response to adversities as a result of the current climate.
Challenges: Aligning the scenarios that felt both relevant and topical to consumers in the current climate, but that also felt authentic to the brand and connected to healthcare. “Values” is a broad theme for a campaign, but it was drilling down to the specific issues that we would touch on that generated the most dynamic discussion. That said, it was a best-in-class example of an open, trusting relationship between agency and brand partners. Collectively, we couldn’t be more thrilled with where we ended up.
Favorite details: The campaign is complemented by four candid behind-the-scenes interviews featuring the non-actor cast of real people—like Weggens; Niki and Joe; and Ben and Duncan—and their stories, including the film’s director, Britton Caillouette, who opened up about his own personal experience surviving cancer. While we didn’t initially plan to do a behind-the-scenes series, once we heard the casting interviews, we knew we had to give these people a platform to share their stories with the world.
Specific demands: Blue Shield of California’s level of courage as a brand to take a stand for the values they believe in without the fear of backlash made the project what it is now. From the beginning of the project, every person involved aligned and deeply cared for the concept. As we were moving forward, this allowed us to collectively approve and execute with ease.
Anything new: We believe with every project, there is something new to be learned. The most valuable for us was learning how our cast has overcome the challenges in their lives, and learning the powerful impact sharing those stories can have on others.