(Est. 1853) “Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving an estimated 44.9 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology products and services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates.”
Working in collaboration with creative WPP sibling agency Ogilvy, Brand Union has designed a fresh color palette, typography as well as photography, icon and illustration styles for the new Aetna campaign, dubbed “You Don’t Join Us, We Join You.” “This was one of those rare, enviable briefs from a client, in that it came from an industry we all have a strong connection to, about a topic we all care about, and it featured a mandate from the highest levels of an organization for real change,” explains Brand Union Executive Creative Director, Sam Becker. “To be sure, repositioning a health insurance giant such as Aetna, as a future-oriented tech/health company was no easy task. In order to change consumers perceptions of a brand like Aetna, virtually synonymous with the insurance category it sits in, required us to think differently about the strategy, the brief and even some of our own processes.”
The foundation for this new design language were two carefully chosen typefaces: The first is Domaine, a strong, evocative serif with an editorial sensibility, employed to communicate empathy and suggest all the ways Aetna can work alongside you so you can meet your health goals. Second, Brand Union utilized Open Sans, a hardworking digital native typeface to be used more frequently, especially in Aetna’s suite of slated products and services. This same thinking inspired the brand’s iconography, which uses a newer, simplified color palette.
Brand Union provided press release
Images (opinion after)
I’m not sure how much from the 2012 identity redesign actually got implemented but the direction established back then was decent and non-exciting in an appropriate way for a health insurance company. Like the ASICS post today, this is another project where the logo stayed the same but the identity around it has been updated. The main visual hook is the masking of the logo and a serif typeface, Domaine, interacting with Aetna’s photography library. It’s… fine, I guess? I like when the logo is masked with the photographs — and even impressed with the masking in motion on the TV spot — but the masked serif feels very antiquated and the samples’ copywriting is so trite as to almost look like a parody — “Achoo”? Eye roll. Other than the campaign tagline of “You Don’t Join Us, We Join You.” — that would have some merit if health insurance wasn’t the biggest fucking nightmare in life as an American (sorry, it’s the one aspect of being independent that sucks the biggest donkey balls) — there isn’t much here that steers the brand into any kind of significantly different territory from where it was. That is not to say there is anything visually wrong with the redesign, it’s just not as earth-shattering as the provided press release makes it sound.