I’ve been working on brand strategy for Aetna, a large health insurance company, while at Ogilvy. The other day someone asked me if I was tired of working on Aetna (I’ve been on it almost since day one of me joining Ogilvy). Much to the surprise of him and myself, I said no.

To be honest, I wasn’t super excited to begin working on Aetna, but when the project was pitched to me, it came with the opportunity to travel to Phoenix, and I couldn’t say no to tacos. Fast forward 10 months, and I realize that I really like the health insurance space.

Why?

There’s. So. Much. Tension. When it comes to healthcare in the US, everyone has an opinion. Everyone is also pretty much affected. And many in serious ways. The category is also confusing and stressful for consumers to shop. There is room for a brand to take a stand, improve the experience, and make a difference. Plus, healthcare is going through major transformations, and it’s up to me (and the rest of Ogilvy + Aetna) to make sure Aetna predicts the future landscape correctly.

Ogilvy won brand work for Coke this summer, and the same friend who asked me if I was bored of Aetna told me to raise my hand to work to on Coca-Cola. And, much to my and his surprise, I didn’t. I volunteered for more work on Aetna instead. “But it’s Coke!,” he said. And yes, despite the sugar battles, Coke is a fantastic brand. It has pretty great advertising, and a willingness to execute on cool ideas. But. Well. With Coke you have to make up the tension. Attach the brand to a cause (ie, happiness). Aetna has tension built in. Aetna can actually improve the world if they want to.

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