Aetna Marketing Campaign Features Employees On Billboards

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Working at Aetna for some employees also means having your face seen by more than 100,000 drivers daily — at least this summer.

Five employees, and one Aetna employee’s son, are featured on billboards in the Hartford region this summer as part of the health insurer’s $50 million national campaign to attract and retain individual customers.

While health insurance has been marketed to businesses in the past, federal health care reform and the introduction of public health exchanges later this year shifted part of the marketing emphasis to individuals.

Aetna’s national campaign, “What’s Your Healthy?” is $50 million for media advertising including television and billboards, business-to-business marketing, digital marketing and community events, among other efforts. The campaign is above and beyond what Aetna ordinarily spends on advertising, the company said.

One person featured on a billboard is Jake Montross, 12, whose father, Chris Montross, is Aetna’s managing director of community relations and urban marketing. The photo (above) is of Jake bicycling at The Village Ride, a fundraiser, in June 2012 at Ski Sundown in New Hartford.

“He had just finished up a baseball game and we were on the way home, and I just couldn’t hold it in any longer, I guess, and I said, ‘Hey man, look at this picture, you’re going to be on a billboard!’” the father said of his son. “And he was like, ‘What?! I’m going to be on a billboard?’ I wish I had a video of it. Honestly, the response was just so cute I couldn’t get over it.”

Aetna CEO Mark T. Bertolini said in a prepared statement: “Asking ‘What’s Your Healthy?’ is an opportunity to engage all consumers in a conversation around achieving their best health. Beyond simply creating a dialogue, we’re helping people take action through CarePass, which empowers users to create, track and achieve their health and wellness goals. Wellness is different for different people. I practice yoga and meditation every morning because it helps me be present during the rest of the day.”

The billboards feature a photo and an answer to the company’s question, “what’s your healthy?” For example, a photo of a person with a foot cast answers “getting back on my feet,” and a person on a mountain bike responds “making it to the top.” Only some of the 10 different billboard images have employees and others have publicity photos, such a woman doing yoga with her dog.

Aetna bought time on five digital billboards: two on Interstate-91 on the Colt building, two on I-91 south of Jennings Road and one on Interstate-84 east of Route 72. The stretch of I-91 around the Colt building had average daily traffic of 89,100 to 117,700 at different points on the highway, according to 2012 data from the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Daily traffic on I-84 in the West Hartford area ranges from 92,100 to 164,900, according to DOT data.

The billboard advertisements will rotate with other ads from June 17 through August 11. Aetna also bought television advertising that will be shown from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on local affiliates for NBC, CBS, Fox and ABC.

The marketing is both a buildup to enrollment in public exchanges, which starts Oct. 1, as well as people who buy individual policies directly from a broker or the insurer or on a private health exchange.

Aetna also has two websites to encourage people to live healthier lives: and

CarePass vice president Martha L. Wofford said in a prepared statement: “CarePass helps consumers connect different pieces of health data to create a fuller, more personalized picture of their health.”

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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One thought on “Aetna Marketing Campaign Features Employees On Billboards

  1. Robert Grouse

    My healthy is not using Aetna insurance. I use the money saved to finance other health initiatives. (I am retired and on Medicare; Aetna was the carrier for my former employer; I never saw any benefit in the Aetna plans for Medicare Advantage.)

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