Category Archives: health

RPA’s Joe Baratelli on Doing Good (Marketing) to Do Well



Thanks to Los Angeles-based agency RPA, “We Are Farmers, buh bi dum dum dum dum dum” has become a bit of a jingle earworm. Great awareness and brand recognition for the insurance company. Joe Baratelli, EVP and Chief Creative Officer of the agency that’s been his home for almost 35 years, walked me through that and other creative concepts and their business results. It starts, he suggests, with the mantra of the organization: People, Relationships and Results.

(Note: You can also read a summary of this conversation in the new publication, The Continuum.)

Now, in an era of ubiquitous focus on health, though, the AOR of Farmers and Honda wants to expand its portfolio to include more healthcare clientele. Joe also explained how RPA has started to accomplish that — and did well by doing good for UNICEF and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. It’s heartwarming work and their pillars of focusing on people and relationships definitely shine through.

Sample of UNICEF #VaccinesWork art

If you’re in advertising or #marketing, this is one to save as a download.
Joe and I talk about:

  • How respecting your co-workers AND the audience for the campaigns yields results
  • How they applied that to the UNICEF #VaccinesWork campaign and leveraged our inclination to protect our kids from danger to drive inoculations that protect them from dangers we can’t see. Brilliant!
  • The elements that went into a worldwide campaign and its efficacy in changing minds
  • How marketing #vaccines is similar to…or different from… marketing other clients like Apartments.com, Honda, or Farmers, for example.
  • How DID they evolve their Farmers campaign as times have changed over 10 years on the account?
  • What behavioral scientists can tell you about human nature…to inform creative campaigns
  • How pro bono work, such as for PBTF and the stunning collection of compelling animations they did to ease kids into understanding their diagnosis led to a healthy set of new clients…

Oh, and yes, I managed to sing the Farmers jingle.


Standing Up for Better Healthcare Marketing – with CMO Arra Yerganian



Arra Yerganian thinks healthcare has always been a little upside down, controlled by physicians instead of the the patients. Ya think? But I misspeak – at least while speaking with Yerganian:  he actually banned the word “patients” when he was CMO at both Sutter Health and One Medical. He explained that the word comes from Latin for “‘a place of suffering’ and that should be a temporary state at best.” Instead, he said, “We used the person’s name, so it wasn’t a dehumanizing experience to come into the doctor’s office.”

I liked this guy immediately. But there’s more to marketing healthcare than nomenclature. Yerganian is on a mission to raise awareness of the biggest issues impacting health for all of us: our Social Determinants of Health — or SDOH. Basically, if my zip code is wealthier than yours the overall population is likely healthier. I likely am more informed about and have better access to healthier foods or fitness facilities, I might have access to more parks for fresh air, and of course the income to afford anything from childcare to catch up on sleep and even infant mortality rates and so on. So how can we democratize health? For Yerganian, it’s awareness, it’s education, it’s communication. He also notes that, apropos our recent civic dis-ease and disease, “beyond the pandemic, the great challenge that we’ll have is the behavioral health crisis that’s affecting our country.”

He shares the details of best practices and how to get on a healthier collective path overall in this Episode 22 of Insider Interviews. (Hint: stand up more for healthy behavior in every sense of the meaning.)

NOTE: I’m proud to be Editor in Chief of The Continuum, about awareness and performance marketing. In Issue 2 posting in late January you can also read this interview along with the POVs and suggestions from other notables in the health and wellness marketing space.  But, dear listeners, you get the advance insights here when you catch the full conversation with Arra Yerganian.

He and I discuss: 

Discussing standing up for the Social Determinants of Health
  • What are the social determinants of health, and how do they fit this into the world of marketing?
  • How can we track and thus help modify the exposure to environmental ills
  • What are some new approaches in brand marketing and health and wellness, such as driving uptake of tele-health?
  • How can promoting value-based programs reward healthcare providers with incentive payments?
  • How can products or brands, like a sleep aid or gym facility or a yoga mat or bicycle manufacturer, leverage some healthcare data and apply that to their marketing
  • How do you market against patients deferring to Google for diagnosing themselves?
  • And how do you conduct business meetings standing up?!

Here’s to a happier, HEALTHIER New Year to you all, with my sincere appreciation for listening, sharing and subscribing wherever you like to listen to Podcasts.