IPA Effectiveness Awards 2004: Bronze Award - Bupa


Campaign: Bupa Personal Health Service

Client: Bupa

Agency: WCRS

Principal authors: David Golding, WCRS; Jo Reid, WCRS

Media used: TV


This is the case of how Bupa, Britain's largest private health insurer, repositioned itself in the public imagination as a health and care company that anyone can use.

Throughout the 90s, though, that image shift seemed an unlikely story.

Only 11 per cent of people in the UK had private medical insurance, a figure that hadn't budged for ten years. What's more, competitors were joining the scene, forcing Bupa to defend its position rather than grow the market.

Bupa decided to broaden its appeal, and communicate the other facets of its business: its hospitals, care homes, health assessment centres and nurseries. To do this, it would have to take on the might of the NHS.

WCRS gave birth to a new brand idea for Bupa: it was to become the "personal health service" - not combating, but complementing the NHS. The idea not only clearly positioned the Bupa brand, but inspired its management, boosted staff morale and acted as a solid platform for the advertising that followed.

The campaign has worked to convince more of the British public that Bupa does more than provide private medical insurance - awareness of and consideration to buy non-insurance products has grown, as have the company's revenues: every £1 spent on advertising has seen a return of £3.

The judges' view

This case shows how the idea of Bupa as "the personal health service" delivered results internally and externally. It broadened what people expected from Bupa and led to increases in private care home occupancy, health assessments and self-pay operations. Within Bupa, this idea has acted as a rallying cry that has motivated staff, leading to better service and lower staff turnover.

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