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‘Tough,’ Blue Shield of California’s New Ad Campaign, Salutes Frontline COVID-19 Workers

The campaign, produced by Butler Shine Stern & Partners will air across major media markets in California

Blue Shield of California on Monday unveiled “Tough,” a new advertising campaign that honors the work of front-line workers in the fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19.

The campaign, produced by Butler Shine Stern & Partners (BSSP) will air across major media markets in California, and is centered around a simple concept – shine a light on the authentic, mixed emotions of the healthcare community right now: exhaustion, isolation, confusion, anxiety coupled with resilience, bravery and love.


BSSP and Blue Shield tapped actual healthcare workers and medical experts to obtain their perspective, conducting grassroots research and social listening to create a new spot aimed at giving these frontline heroes a voice, while also saying thank you in the process. The ads are aimed at showing the very real, relatable hardships facing frontline workers.

In addition, Blue Shield and BSSP are launching billboards, social and streaming audio ads to support the message, and partnering with the LA Times on two new initiatives. One being a 15-day series on the Los Angeles Times’ Instagram shining a light on the stories of real people affected by COVID-19, rolling out in May. Blue Shield also is sponsoring the outlet’s new “Coronavirus in California” podcast which will highlight stories from the frontlines each day, debuting April 27.

Borrowing from ‘Blue, Not Blue’

The new ads come on the heels of last year’s “Blue, Not Blue” brand campaign, reflecting Blue Shield’s commitment to the plan’s mission, values, and shows that “what we stand for sets us apart.”

“Today I’m excited and honored to share a new chapter of this campaign, said Blair McGrain, Vice President of Brand Acquisition and Marketing at Blue Shield. “A chapter that champions our values, while also acknowledging our current environment. We’re debuting a powerful new campaign across the state that celebrates our vital medical community and the healthcare providers tirelessly working on the front line during the COVID-19 crisis.”

The ad reflects Blue Shield’s commitment to aid the state’s pandemic fight. Blue Shield has joined forces with Gov. Gavin Newsom for a COVID-19 Testing Task Force and is waiving fees for members to offering free virtual care (Teladoc and NurseHelp). Blue Shield is providing up to $200 million in direct support to healthcare providers and hospitals, BSC has become a leader in the effort to fight COVID-19 and support communities across California.

The 30-second spot