Brand Positioning

Covering Washington’s Uninsured

With Washington Healthplanfinder


01 / Background

Following the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Washington Health Benefit Exchange chose GMMB to help take on a momentous challenge: connecting the one million uninsured people in Washington state with health insurance. GMMB helped lead overall strategy, research, branding, advertising, earned media, partnership outreach, and event coordination for the state’s new health insurance marketplace: Washington Healthplanfinder.

2011 - 2018
Advertising / Brand Strategy / Creative Content / Digital / Movement Building / Public Relations

02 / Strategy

Although Washington Healthplanfinder was brand new, we knew cynicism about health insurance (including what it costs and what it covers) was well entrenched. We needed to convince people who had negative past experiences—from denials for preexisting conditions, to rejected claims, to unaffordable premiums—that quality, affordable health insurance was finally available. Also, we needed to place a focus on “young invincibles”—young adults ages 18 to 35 who are often difficult to reach and convince.

To overcome these communications challenges, GMMB’s strategy hinged on showcasing the new, affordable options available and reinforcing the importance of coverage. Materials and advertising embodied these messages using relatable characters and humor to help people place themselves in the ads and understand that having health insurance is important even if you’re healthy. We also leveraged personal stories of those who’d enrolled to show how Washington Healthplanfinder positively impacted Washington residents. Finally, to help raise awareness and drive enrollment outside traditional channels, GMMB worked with new and existing partners to organize events at concert venues, malls and sporting events.


03 / Work

We began our work with focus groups to learn the attitudes and perceptions of the uninsured in Washington and to test names, messages, and creative concepts. GMMB branded Washington Healthplanfinder as a trusted resource where individuals and families can compare and choose health plans, and receive financial help. Prior to launch, GMMB built relationships with organizations, partners and media to build support and awareness of Washington Healthplanfinder. GMMB developed an advertising campaign that reached people through television, radio, print, out-of-home, and digital channels.

GMMB designed materials in multiple languages; led innovative social media outreach; organized reporter briefings; managed business, government and community partnerships; coordinated more than 20 outreach and enrollment events across the state; and secured local, state and national media coverage. GMMB also orchestrated collaborations targeting key demographics—including a partnership with Univision’s popular TV news program to reach Spanish speakers and with the state’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, to reach the important young adult audience.


04 / Results

GMMB helped Washington Healthplanfinder reduce the uninsured rate in Washington by more than 60 percent. Our advertising and communications efforts helped Washington Healthplanfinder earn recognition as “a national leader” from The Seattle Times, and an impressive 57 percent of people recalled seeing GMMB’s ads. Following the hugely successful first year, GMMB went on to help the exchange increase its enrollment number for the next four years—despite reduced budgets and challenging political headwinds. Today, “young invincibles” aged 18 to 35 comprise roughly one-quarter of qualified health plan enrollees, and one in four Washington residents—more than 1.7 million people—gets their health coverage through Washington Healthplanfinder.