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How a Louisville Ad Agency Helped Create Kynect

Ja'Nel Johnson

Since its launch, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange has gained a variety of national praise as a model for enrolling people for coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

It recently gained another accolade. The advertising agency that marketed Kynect, Louisville-based Doe-Anderson, has won an Effie Award for having the most effective marketing campaign in North America.

The North American Effie Awards honors the most effective marketing communications efforts in the United States and Canada.

Doe-Anderson Chief Creative Officer David Vawter said the agency’s main goal in creating the campaign was to keep the contentious political arguments surrounding the  Affordable Care Act out of the overall message.

“We wanted to make it really simple and really optimistic and explain to people that a new day was coming--that things were going to be better," he said.

So, how exactly did the team at Doe-Anderson come up with the concept for Kynect?

After securing the job through idea pitches to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, Doe-Anderson staff spoke to consumers throughout the state, Vawter said.

"In talking to consumers we had some initial logo designs, one of which incorporated this rising sun motif and people really responded very strongly to that ... and it's what ended up being the campaign that got produced," Vawter said.

He said the agency decided to go with an animated approach in order to make the conversation friendlier and less complicated.

"We just knew that there were a lot of people who needed health insurance. We wanted these people to know that there was now going to be something that was going to make it possible for them to get covered," Vawter said.

To be considered for an Effie, an agency had to prove a campaign’s measurable and significant impact to its intended audience.

When the campaign began, there were 640,000 uninsured and eligible Kentuckians who could enroll in the state's new health insurance exchange.

During the first open enrollment period, 413,410 people enrolled in health insurance through Kynect.

Kentucky now has the second highest reduction in the rate of uninsured people in the U.S.

“Kentucky has been recognized for really kind of being the role model in terms of the roll out for the program,” Vawter said.

Another key element in the success of the campaign is the name, Kynect.

Vawter said people really sparked to the name Kynect during an early focus group. He said they wanted to come up with a name that made it clear that they were working to connect people to affordable, quality health care.

"One of the writers cleverly realized that we could put a 'K,' 'Y' on the front of connect and we'd have a memorable name that nobody else could use," Vawter said.

This isn't the first time the agency has won an Effie Award. In 2003, the agency won the award for a Maker's Mark campaign.

Doe-Anderson will accept the  newest award in June in New York.