SOURCE: Harte-Hanks

August 01, 2005 08:45 ET

Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois and Harte-Hanks Win 2005 Benjamin Franklin Award for Direct Marketing Excellence in 'TV' Category

LANGHORNE, PA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2005 -- Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois and Harte-Hanks (NYSE: HHS), which provides the insurer with data-based marketing services, were honored recently with the 2005 Philadelphia Direct Marketing Association (PDMA) Benjamin Franklin Award for Marketing Excellence (also known as the "Benny") in the "TV/Infomercial" category.

The Benjamin Franklin Award for Direct Marketing Excellence competition is a Philadelphia tradition of more than 25 years, with the "Benny" itself now one of the region's highest honors in direct marketing and advertising. A panel of direct marketing experts judged this year's submissions and awarded winners in categories for creative direct mail; business-to-business; consumer products; mail: insurance; multi-media; and TV/infomercial, among other categories.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois' 'It Just Fits'
Individual Under 65 Insurance Direct Response Television
According to the award entry, individuals under the age of 65 who purchase their own health insurance are challenged to find products that are affordable and that also offer comprehensive coverage. In Illinois, competitive health insurance products feature low price points, but offer limited service and coverage. Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois (BCBSIL) solved the low-price, high-quality coverage plan gap by developing and marketing new, more competitive product variations. The business challenge BCBSIL set before Harte-Hanks was to generate new leads from direct response television (DRTV) as part of a larger, integrated product launch campaign designed to invite people to take a new look at the affordable plans that now were available to them. To counteract existing perceptions about BCBSIL's products, the program needed to convey that BCBSIL offered consumers an expanded product portfolio that would "fit" their budget, allowing them to benefit from comprehensive plans with 100-percent coverage to basic, low-cost plans -- and everything in between.

The communication strategy and creative, developed with the varied needs of price-weary consumers in mind, centered around the campaign theme "It Just Fits." The commercial sent a compelling message about how the company offers plans that not only fit a variety of protection needs, but also fit easily into any budget. Visuals of relaxed individuals fitted in comfortable blue clothing served to reinforce the sales message and support the familiar Blue Cross Blue Shield brand.

Because the products were priced based on geography, segmentation was accomplished through lead fulfillment. Each lead generated via DRTV received a personalized rate quote and information kit promoting the lowest-cost product available in each respective prospect's area in the state of Illinois. If no response was received, an alternate offer to cross-sell other product options were made in a follow-up effort.

The commercial was deemed a success given that it directly contributed to over-achievement of the lead volume expectations during one of the most challenging environments for DRTV media, a contentious presidential election.

About Harte-Hanks, Inc.

Harte-Hanks, Inc., San Antonio, TX, is a worldwide, direct and targeted marketing company that provides direct marketing services and shopper advertising opportunities to a wide range of local, regional, national and international consumer and business-to-business marketers. Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing improves the return on its clients' marketing investment with a range of services organized around five solution points: Construct and update the database -- Access the data -- Analyze the data -- Apply the knowledge -- Execute the programs. Expert at each element within this process, Harte-Hanks Direct Marketing is highly skilled at tailoring solutions for each of the vertical markets it serves. Harte-Hanks Shoppers is North America's largest owner, operator and distributor of shopper publications, with shoppers that are zoned into more than 1000 separate editions with circulation of 12 million in California and Florida each week. Visit the Harte-Hanks Web site at or call (800) 456-9748.

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