Paul Bunyan ads resulted in people disliking MNsure, analysis says

Categories: Health Care
paulbunyanMNSureFEAT.jpg
For whatever reason, Minnesotans didn't like the idea of a bumbling, injured Paul Bunyan.
Some would argue a negative reaction is better than no reaction at all, and that's essentially the line MNsure officials are taking in response to a startlingly negative analysis of the health exchange's controversial $1.5 million Paul Bunyan ad campaign.

The Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox ads ran from last August through early this year. They could be seen and heard throughout the state on TV, the radio, billboards, and buses, but many who encountered them were left with less favorable thoughts about MNsure than they had going in.

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"While there was no increase in the positive impressions of MNsure, the negative impressions ramped up to 35 percent from 11 percent," an analysis of the campaign put together by Persuadable Research says. "The intent to find more information or likelihood to switch or try dropped significantly in the post study."

But, of course, the ads weren't the only things behind increasing negativity about MNsure.

"Word of mouth and personal experiences with the malfunctioning website may have contributed to negative impression," the analysis adds.

On the flipside of the coin, awareness about MNsure shot up to a "phenomenal" 75 percent by the end of the campaign.

It's the latter result that has MNsure officials arguing the campaign was at least a partial success.

"Our hope was to build awareness of MNsure," Jenni Bowring-McDonough, media relations coordinator for MNsure, tells us. "That was one of the intentions behind the campaign. MNsure was a brand new state quasi-state agency... when you look at it from that lens, [BBDO] actually completed what they were hired to do."

Awareness aside, Bowring-McDonough points out that MNsure has met its enrollment goals so far and presented a balanced budget for 2015 to the legislature a couple months ago.

Joe Campbell, MNsure's director of marketing and communications, attributes more of health exchange's enrollment success to a subsequent ad campaign that moved away from Paul and Babe and instead focused on testimonials from Minnesotans who benefited from MNsure.

(For more, click to page two.)



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