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Health Net Rates an 'F' for Report Card Spot

September 25, 1997

Advertiser: Health Net

Agency: In-house

Challenge: Convince consumers to choose Heath Net over other health maintenance organizations during open enrollment at area employers.

The Ads: In a series of television commercials, Health Net highlights various aspects of its service. One spot, showing a little girl using an inhaler, draws attention to an asthma-control program. Another ad discusses how Health Net members can find a physician online. But the commercial that deserves attention shows a report card with fat red stars for Health Net in "prenatal care" and "cervical cancer." The stars fly off the report into the sky amid the voice-over: "The stars are out for quality of care. Health Net shines."

Comment: Health Net deserves an "F" for its report card spot. The Pacific Business Group on Health in San Francisco recently rated Health Net average compared with other HMOs, and Health Net was rated below average in quality of care and service. While it scored above average in prenatal care and in cervical cancer treatment, other HMOs scored higher. It's already tough enough for consumers to evaluate HMOs. In these commercials, Health Net doesn't shine. $

Isuzu Seeks to 'Go Farther' to Engage Viewers

Advertiser: Isuzu Motor of America

Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco

Challenge: Establish Isuzu as the sports-utility vehicle specialist with ads for its various models built around a common theme: "Go Farther." The first branding spots are for a remodeled Rodeo.

The Ads: In one commercial, shot in black and white, an Isuzu Rodeo outmaneuvers a giant that wants the truck for his life-size play city. A second spot shows a man driving the Isuzu in a trance-like state, apparently following the command, "Go Farther." He motors across plains, mountains and prairies, somehow ending up aboard a raft with his Rodeo, drifting downstream. A waterfall comes into view as a voice-over says comically: "Too far."

Comment: The challenge in automotive advertising is to show the vehicle while keeping the attention of TV viewers. These ads meet the challenge. Both spots show the Rodeo handling sharp turns and rough terrain. The giant ad, perhaps in keeping with Isuzu's new theme, is pretty far out there. The waterfall spot amuses while keeping attention on the truck. $$$

Avis Is Getting Good Mileage From Its Ads

Advertiser: Avis Rent A Car

Agency: Bates USA, New York

Challenge: Set Avis apart from competitors by showing how its employees try harder.

The Ads: Avis employees come to the rescue of grateful customers in two ads inspired by actual events. In the first, an employee chases an Avis van to the airport so he can return a beeper found in a car to its owner. In the second, a female customer with a hungry toddler calls Avis for roadside assistance after getting a flat tire. The dispatcher sends a tow truck driver to change the flat and bring crackers to the crying youngster.

Comment: Besides showing caring employees, the ads demonstrate Avis services. In the beeper spot, the customer used express check-in because he was in a hurry. The second ad underscores Avis' roadside assistance service. Thus Avis makes statements about speed and reliability, qualities that matter to travelers. To make sure that employees live up to the high level of customer service shown in the ads, Avis is conducting employee training sessions systemwide. An inattentive counter clerk can undermine the campaign. $$


Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on probable effectiveness and tastefulness, with $$$$ being best.

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