Marketing To Latinos: A Guide to the In-Culture Approach Part 2
Part 2 Case Studies | Part 1 Case Studies
  CASE STUDY: Healthy Families
California Department of Health Services


In fiscal year 1998-99 the objective of the Healthy Families Program (HFP) and Medi-Cal for Children (MCC) Hispanic advertising/media campaign was to increase awareness among the target audience (low-to-moderate income Hispanic mothers between the ages of 18-49) about the need for health care coverage for children and, in particular, regular preventive services. Having successfully increased program awareness, it was now necessary to not only educate our target market about the importance of health coverage but also attract the "harder-to-reach" market about the availability of State-sponsored services.

Although approximately 350,000 children had been enrolled in HFP (and an undetermined number in Medi-Cal for Children), the next phase of the campaign needed to heighten efforts in order to reach parents of Hispanic children who were eligible but had not yet been enrolled in either program.

The campaign was tasked with increasing awareness among the target market and also reaching a larger audience by discussing program innovations and dispelling myths that might discourage Hispanics from applying for health coverage.

Product Description

Healthy Families: low-cost medical, dental and vision coverage for $4-$9 per month per child. Medi-Cal: no-cost medical, dental and vision coverage. Both programs are available for children ages 0 to 19 who meet income requirements.

Identification of Problems

The advertising needed to both educate Hispanic parents and influencers about the importance of preventive health care as well as raise awareness about the existence of these two programs. We needed to dispel concerns and preconceived notions regarding the cost of health coverage, the difficulty of enrolling in government sponsored programs as well as the quality of service consumers would receive.

Program Objectives

Provide comprehensive no-cost or low-cost health insurance to low-income families. Enroll 250,000 new children in the Healthy Families Program in FY '00-'01. Focus on the harder-to-reach communities that have not yet enrolled.

Identification of Target Markets

Primary: Low to moderate-income working parents with uninsured dependent children. Specifically, mothers with dependent children between the ages 0-19 living in households earning up to 250% of the poverty level per Federal Income Guidelines.

Psychographics: The primary target is composed of mothers, many of them recent immigrants. These women come from a long history of using "home remedies" which have worked successfully for generations. There is a fear within the market of any government office because of potential association with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The majority of these women, even those who have been living in the U.S. for many years, are Spanish dominant.

Secondary: Influencers over the age of 18 (friends, family, community and religious leaders, social workers, schools, etc.); father or caretakers (of the uninsured children) over the age of 18; teenagers (who could influence their parents).

Advertising Objectives

Drive calls to toll-free line. Increase number of applications sent and received. Increase number of children enrolled by 250,000 across all markets combined (General Market, Hispanic, African American, Asian and other ethnic groups).

Motivate target audience to apply for enrollment of their children in either HFP or MCC, communicate the importance of preventive health care coverage, the availability of the two programs and the functions and benefits of each.

Communication Architecture

The plan was a combination of branding and direct response. Primary goals were to drive calls to the toll-free line and increase enrollment. The secondary goal was to raise awareness about the importance of preventive healthcare.

By Audience

The campaign developed one central message which was communicated across all relevant audience segments.


Comprehensive television, radio, outdoor and print campaign featuring mothers and their children. The campaign was built around a central character, "Tía Remedios," who was created to deliver the campaign message. This character represents a person who might exist in many Hispanic families. She is a family member who becomes the source of comfort, support, love and advice for the rest of the family. The passage of time has made her wise and along the way, she has learned about remedies that she uses to help her loved ones.

Tía Remedios (literally Aunt Remedies), is a charismatic and active woman in her sixties, the one everyone turns to for advice. And although her tea, herb and broth repertoire is quite ample, she is wise enough to know when it's necessary to go see a doctor. She has recommended Medi-Cal for Children and Healthy Families to her whole family, so she feels quite satisfied and happy knowing that the kids in her family have a better chance of growing up strong and healthy.

In the television and radio spots we see and hear, Tía Remedios is interacting with various family members. In the print and outdoor ads we see talent from the television spots used to aid recall and awareness of the campaign.

Overview of Creative Strategy

Create honest, empowering, informative ads , which convey the importance of preventive health care.

Primary Message: Because preventive health coverage is very important, Healthy Families and Medi-Cal for Children offer low-cost/no-cost comprehensive medical, dental and vision care for children and teenagers.

Support Message:

  • Now it is easier to apply with shorter mail-in application.
  • More working families qualify.
  • You can choose your own plan and doctor.

Call to action:

  • Your children need health coverage.
  • Call toll-free line and get an application.

Ad Placement Location: California (statewide)

Overview of Media Placement and Timing
  • Statewide campaign with emphasis on markets with highest concentration of eligible Hispanic families: Los Angeles Basin, Fresno, (Central Valley), San Diego, and Sacramento Valley markets.
  • Heaviest emphasis during initial months of campaign, January - February, 2001, to launch new creative.
  • Enhanced support in priority markets with radio.
  • Localize outdoor efforts in high density, low income Hispanic neighborhoods.
Media Plan and Summary
  • Increase awareness of the Healthy Families / Medi-Cal program among qualified families.
  • Continue to drive qualified inquires to the toll-free telephone line.

Use a mix of television radio, print, and outdoor to deliver broad advertising reach to California's Hispanic population.

  • Allocate 70% of television exposure in daytime, fringe, and news with 30% allocated to prime time in programming with the heaviest concentration of working women.
  • Utilize radio in markets with the heaviest concentrations of the target audience: Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, Stockton and Modesto.
  • Base in-language outdoor placement on demographic profile of the target audience by market.
  • Utilize print for copy point development, public relations efforts and advertorial support.
Success Metrics/Goals Acheived
  • In the initial 6 months of the campaign (Jan. - June 2001), calls to the Spanish language toll-free line increased 14% compared to the previous 6 months (July - Dec. 2000).
  • 150,920 Latinos enrolled in the last year. 74% of that enrollment took place while Spanish-language advertising was running (Jan - Sept. 2001).
  • During the campaign period (Jan. - Sept. 2001) total HFP new enrollment s were 187,499. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of the new enrollments were Latino.

Agency: HeadQuarters Advertising
































Healthy Family
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