Should health insurance companies be spending millions on celebrity spokesperson campaigns?

I’m a big advocate of brands using celebrities to grab a consumer’s attention and communicate key messaging – heck, that’s what I do for a living. But I can’t help point out the obvious.

With Americans paying so much for healthcare coverage including painful and unsustainable monthly premiums, is it really a good optic for Cigna to have an advertising campaign that includes so many big name and high-priced talent?

I was tempted to write about the initial TV commercial when it was launched last year, but decided to cut Cigna a little slack. It starred Patrick Dempsey, Noah Wyle, Alan Alda, Donald Faison and Lisa Edelstein.
But now that a new commercial is airing with the addition of Kate Walsh and Neil Patrick Harris, I decided to share some thoughts.

The healthcare industry is a confusing marketplace and Cigna did what brands do when they want to shine the spotlight on their products and services. They created a commercial that is very effective.

The dialogue is clever, fresh and funny – and with the multiple stars, it really stands out and grabs the viewer’s attention.

But here’s the rub.

Although I’m not privy to the exact contracts, the celebrities surely were paid very significant dollars.  TV commercials are the most expensive components in spokesperson deals and their individual fees likely ran from $500,000 into the $1,000,000+ range.

That’s per person.  Per year. Add in production costs, and those spots cost millions and millions of dollars.

Now, we expect Pepsi and Nike to be shelling out big money for big stars in their advertising efforts, but should an insurance company?

With customers being fearful that their monthly premiums will again rise, I wonder whether it’s the right visual for Cigna to be going “so big” in an advertising campaign.

An entertaining and eye-catching spot, yes.  Smart and appropriate tactic, maybe no.

DLB – Procuring celebrities, athletes and influencers for companies, agencies and non-profits
Follow DLB on Twitter: @DarcyLBouzeos