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August 21, 2003
CIGNA TV Campaign Spotlights Benefits Managers

Contributing Editor, Best Practices in Compensation & Benefits

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If you've seen the commercials, you may feel you've seen a reflection of yourself. Bill, George, Cheryl, and Patricia, real-life managers of their respective companies' benefits, are featured in a recent ad campaign for the benefits services of CIGNA (

According to CIGNA spokesperson Bruce Rekant, the company learned a lot from talking with the HR people in their ads.

"If you look at advertising that's directed to (high-level management), a lot of it features someone sitting at a desk with people talking to them. Or they're in a conference room, or by the elevator. This makes them look like they only wear one hat, that of a senior manager, as opposed to being a real person. We wanted to portray them as they are-real people.

"We filmed them where they felt most comfortable; they picked the location. Bill likes to run trails, so we found a picnic bench in the area where he runs, and that's where we interviewed him. These were real, honest, true moments. Showing them as one-dimensional office geeks just wasn't who these people were."

Rekant said he was struck by a common thread running through the interviews. "People said: 'Employees don't always realize that I'm an employee, too. I have to live with the benefits I select for employees, too.'"

Benefits managers "are a different breed from some of the management people we talk to," Rekant says. "These are people who are truly passionate about the employees and compassionate. They look at their jobs as balancing between the needs of the organization and the needs of the employees. They are advocates for employees, yet responsible to management. As an organization, CIGNA understands that, and that every organization is different.

"In a voiceover at the end of the commercials, actor Donald Sutherland says: 'Every benefits manager has a story to tell,' making the point that we're there listening and understanding the company's needs. It's really something we feel we're uniquely qualified to do."

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