The triumph of bollocks – or how to “redefine” anything

Which worries you more? Your health? Or your health provider?

I once lived in Harley Street under a false name for seven years. This was because I owed so much to the Inland Revenue I didn’t dare show my face.

My friendly local divorce lawyer told me “I never met a doctor yet who wasn’t more interested in money than medicine.”

Later I heard that unkind joke applied to lawyers. It is not always true of either profession, I am sure. But I wager it is of medical insurers – which brings me to my experience this morning with AXA/PPP.

Though I have been their client for thirty years or more I have never called on them for anything except health check-ups. Beyond that I have simply noticed their prices have gone up a damn sight faster than the cost of living, whilst their service, if today’s experience is anything to go by, has deteriorated.

My story starts with a mistake. The estimable Kelly, my PA, booked me in to have a check-up with BUPA, not AXA/PPP. By the time I noticed this her damp derriere was plonked in a tent at some storm-drowned music festival so I couldn’t ask her why.

So I thought, what the hell, I’ll give BUPA a shot. But first I thought I’d check, so I went online. Mysteriously there was no reference to Private Health Checks on the AXA/PPP site. Just a suggestion that you can get them from your National Health doctor.

Very droll. I tried that with my doctor. Not much luck. The check was pretty cursory.

The entire reason I pay a bloody fortune to AXA/PPP is so that I can get stuff done properly when it suits me. The only thing I learned from their website is they have an absurd slogan they (which means me) must have paid some second rate plagiarists a fortune for – Healthcare/Reinvented. How pathetic is that?

Eventually I wasted 15 minutes ringing up a patronising woman who spoke so fast I could barely follow her, but told me they don’t do it anymore. They’ve offloaded it to Nuffield (slogan: For the love of life) and BMI (slogan: Serious about health. Passionate about care).

Let me pause to throw up before continuing …

Anyhow, what I wanted to know was the cost. I knew BUPA’s charges. Would these people rip me off more – or less? Ms. Snotty wouldn’t tell me. She just said I’d get a 25% discount. I don’t know about you but 25% off an unknown sum is pretty useless if you want to make a decision.

I then rang Nuffield where a pleasant lady told me in a couple of minutes what I wanted to know.

Eventually I went to BUPA, whose rates seem lower than AXA/PPP and had a pleasant enough experience if you like your prostate being tickled and don’t mind being hard sold the benefits of hearing aids.

I seriously believe that following the offloading by AXA/PPP of this essential service I will be contributing to two or three companies’ profits instead of one.

I also seriously believe that the word “redefine” in this instance means “abdicate responsibility for” and that it pays to train your telephone ladies to be pleasant as they represent your company.

Finally I seriously believe that if all the money pissed away on vapid slogans by companies’ witless marketing trolls were applied to doing a better job we would all benefit, the world would be a better place and my blood pressure would go down.

 

 

About the Author

Drayton

In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *