WCRS creates warmer image with Bupa work

The private healthcare giant Bupa is to use cartoon advertising in an attempt to create a "warmer" image with consumers, away from its traditional creative themes of white-coated staff and medical procedures.

WCRS has developed a national press campaign using 12 creative executions to showcase Bupa's full range of services, including care homes, online advice and health assessments, to highlight the company's offer of more than insurance products.

The press campaign, which will run until September, represents the first time Bupa has specifically promoted the fact that non-members can opt for self-pay treatment at Bupa hospitals.

Harriet de Swiet, the head of brand management at Bupa, said: "The brief was to warm the brand up and make it more relevant to people. Private healthcare can be seen by the public as something for other people."

She added: "Traditional Bupa advertising can be generic for the category. We are really trying to move on from being seen purely as an insurance company to being a broad-based health and care services company."

The ads take a tongue-in-cheek look at consumers interacting with Bupa. One shows a friendly labrador saying to a Bupa representative: "Well, you did say it was for everyone." Another features a feisty woman arriving at her care home asking: "Is it all right if I bring my cat?" as she trails her lion behind her on a leash.

Bupa is running more executions than it has in the past in a bid to go beyond the broad consumer audience to include specialist groups.

Creative will run in consumer titles including Eve, Good Housekeeping, fitness titles such as Men's Health and Shape, and the health magazine Top Sante. Specialists such as doctors, nurses and corporate purchasers of health products for businesses will be targeted through niche trade magazines.

"There has been a step-change this year," Jess Heyes, the associate director of planning at MediaVest, Bupa's media planning and buying agency, said.

"We have cut down on the number of titles used, and we are being much more selective, even down to where we position each ad within a magazine to get much more focused consumers."

She added: "Each execution is based around a specific message, but the overall objective is to build a sense of the overall range of products and show it is much more broad than the public perception."

Bupa competes against the likes of PPP, part of the French insurance giant AXA, Standard Life and Norwich Union.

The campaign was art directed by Simon Robinson and written by Jo Moore, and the illustrator was Graham Carter.