Digital healthcare company K Health and its creative agency Anomaly faced a challenge that will sound familiar to marketers inside health and out: Getting people to consider a solution before actually facing a problem.

“People don’t want to think about healthcare until they need it,” noted K Health VP of marketing Danielle Eddleston. “People don’t search for migraine treatment until they have a migraine.”

That insight fueled the organization’s new campaign, which debuted last week with out-of-home and TV ads in Dallas and Orlando. The overarching goal: To strike a chord with target audiences, especially those without health insurance, before they’re sick.

The K Health app taps AI and clinical data to show how others with similar symptoms were treated. It then connects users to HCPs for a prescription or treatment, if needed.

The company charges a $12 per month membership fee, which includes unlimited virtual visits. Non-members can use the app’s symptom checker for free, with virtual visits costing $23 each.

Designed to reach potential members, K Health’s multichannel effort includes 30-second commercials (with more than 11,000 airings in the two markets), billboards (more than 40) and social media. The TV spots feature people engaging in a slate of activities — biking, fishing and tee ball — that they might not have been able to do if they were waiting to see a doctor or worrying about how to pay for a visit.

“The key message for the campaign is that healthcare is broken, but it doesn’t have to be,” Eddleston said. “The 5 million people who use K Health, like many Americans, are stressed by medical bills. K Health is the way to outsmart the system.”

The ads have a somewhat subversive tone, with billboard slogans like “sick and tired of being sick and tired?” and an overarching theme of “healthcare without the system.”

“The ads show people going on with their lives. They can get the care they need right away, then focus on what matters,” Eddleston continued.

She believes, in fact, that the K Health campaign breaks any number of marketing rules. “The playbooks say not to focus on the competition or what’s broken,” she said. “But we tap into the insight that everyone knows the system is broken, then quickly pivot to show how people can outsmart it. We demonstrate how easy it is to choose something better.”

Eddleston explained that Dallas and Orlando were chosen in part because of their high volumes of uninsured people. Both areas exceed the national average of 10% of adults under 65 being uninsured, with rates hitting 22% in Dallas and 18% in Orlando.

Meanwhile, the high incidence of COVID-19 in the two markets makes the app’s symptom checker potentially very useful. “We want to make sure that people know there is another option on their phone,” Eddleston explained. “With COVID-19, K Health has helped people decide whether or not to go to the hospital and identify if symptoms are COVID-19, the flu or something else.”

Just over a week into the campaign, K Health sees indications that its messages are resonating. “We have already doubled the number of people who seek K Health services in these markets,” Eddleston reported. Look for the campaign — and the company — to further expand its reach in the months ahead.