Burnett unleashes Chuck Norris on United Healthcare

Chuck Norris in “Lunch vs. Chuck Norris”

If you count all of the existing medical codes, there are more than 76,000 ways to enter the Healthcare system. United Healthcare’s humorous, Cannes Award-winning campaign, “Ways In,” again shows that the insurance giant is committed to helping you through the system, even if it requires a kick from the likes of action star Chuck Norris.

In Leo Burnett’s new 60-second spot, “Lunch vs. Chuck Norris,” was produced by LA-based MJZ and edited by The Whitehouse’s Matt Wood, two friends are enjoying lunch at a diner. Upon seeing Norris enter, they sling “Chuck Norris truths” at each other. In order to find out if the actor “still has it,” one of them hurls a saltshaker at the “Walker Texas Ranger” star and is quickly paid back with a roundhouse kick return of the saltshaker into his forehead.

Once at the doctor’s office we discover the man’s official medical code is 989.1: Toxic Effects of Salt.

The campaign’s success has been a game-changer in the advertising and healthcare industries and also has really clicked with consumers by making health insurance approachable and human.

According to Burnett’s EVP/ECD Jeanie Caggiano, business lead on the United Healthcare Account, health insurance advertising was all the same two years ago.

“Puppies, babies and soothing voiceovers. People didn’t like health insurance companies and definitely didn’t trust them,” she says.

That all changed when Burnett launched the “Ways In” campaign.

Using research and “good-natured truths,” the creative team discovered that there were lots of unusual ways people get entered into the complex health-care system.

“Better yet, there’s a hilariously specific code for each way in, from being bitten by an orca killer whale to getting a paper cut,” Caggiano adds.

The team set out to create funny stories of how those codes might have gotten onto people’s medical records and then shows how United Healthcare can make the medical system less costly, less confusing, less irritating and whole lot more.

“Lunch Vs. Chuck Norris” bowed during Sunday night’s SAG Awards. It will air nationally during prime time on broadcast and cable channels, online, and social media. View the spot here.

Burnett credits: Leo Burnett ECD, Jeanie Caggiano; ACD/copywriter Alan Shen; ACD AD Chris Walker; CD, Colin Selikow; CD Vince Cook; group executive producer, Mary Cheney.

MJZ production credits: Director, Craig Gillespie, EP, Director: Craig Exec producer: Emma Wilcockson, EP: David Zander.

Post: Whitehouse Editorial, Matthew Wood editor.

LA-Based Colin Costello writes for Film, TV and advertising. Email him at [email protected].