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Campaign Review: battle of the health insurance letters in HBF vs HCF

For the first Campaign Review of 2022, Mumbrella invites the industry’s creatives and strategists to offer their views on recent ad campaigns. This week: Hero's Roshni Hegerman and The General Store's Chris Scott evaluate the recent campaigns from health insurance brands HBF and HCF.

Brand: HBF

Campaign: ‘Now I Know What Love Is

Agency: Leo Burnett

The verdict: The Quokkas make a welcome return

Roshni Hegerman, managing director / executive strategy director at Hero, says:

Who doesn’t love a furry little national icon who sings? Sure, executionally there is a level of cheese that makes you cringe ever so slightly, but in this case, bring it on. I love how this brand hasn’t taken themselves too seriously and dares to break the mould of dry, boring insurance communication. They’ve leveraged the power of music as a strong branding and engagement tool, to establish an emotional connection, increase brand recognition and convey valuable content in an entertaining way, making the brand and messages sticky.

Admittingly, I am not an HBF member, but this campaign series does grab my attention and makes me think, am I missing out? While this won’t win a Cannes Lions, it will cut through, capture attention and maybe even win more market share. And oh, next time I hear “Now I know what love is…”, I’ll be thinking about Quokkas and HBF.

Rating: 10/10 for Brand Awareness and Customer Acquisition

Chris Scott, executive creative director at The General Store, says:

The Quokkas have been a great, distinctive asset for HBF, and there was obviously a lot of success with their last run out in 2020, a shameless appropriation of another banger, Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Holding Out For a Hero’. So here they are, splashing the big bucks on another power ballad, and to be honest, if it ain’t broke… This will again be a surefire hit with consumers young and old, and kudos to Leos and HBF for continuing to double down on a campaign that pushes its proof points through fun, rather than worthiness.

The approach does a really nice job in putting some daylight between them and the competitive set. I’m probably never going to willingly listen to the original again after a couple of months of this on high rotation, but hey, I’ll take anything over another slice o’ life financial services ad. Special shout out to Mighty Nice for a quality job on anthropomorphising the little critters once again.

Rating: 7/10

Brand: HCF

Campaign: ‘Uncommon Care

Agency: Clemenger BBDO

The verdict: Not distinctive, bland

Hegerman says:

While strategically the HCF “uncommon care” platform conveys the distinctive edge of being an HCF member and has great potential; executionally, I was disappointed. As an HCF member myself, I felt this piece of communication talked down to people, lost the plot on what is “uncommon” about the care they provide and made me second guess why I hold a policy with them to begin with.

In addition, the truths and insights around peoples’ approach to health care felt outdated and old-fashioned. It’s common to wait to put your pants on, but uncommon to make an appointment, seriously?

I think the brand is missing a trick on conveying how they prioritise their members needs and care. They are too focused on being clever, instead should just stick to being clear.

Rating: 3/10 for brand awareness, customer acquisition and retention

Scott says:

I struggle a bit with this one… This feels like a brand that’s starting to slave to its own endline, and the creative results here just feel a little flat. Strategically, ‘Uncommon Care’ is pretty sound, if somewhat expected, but surely there’s some great creative opportunity in bringing to life ‘Uncommon’ in the world of insurance?

Instead, we’ve got a very common structural formula in the film that we’ve all seen a million times, and a production which feels sparse and dark, and not in a good way. The casting and performance direction redeems it slightly, but overall, I’m not left feeling any closer to the brand after watching this.

Rating: 5/10

As told to Anna Macdonald. If you’re a senior creative or strategist who would like to take part in a future Campaign Review, please email amacdonald@mumbrella.com.au.

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