Health insurance companies subsidize technology: symbiotic advertising strategy

How tissues became Tempos, diapers became Pampers, and subsidies for fitness bands became ads for IWatches.

Apple Watch Edition July 2015, a devilish thing? Photo: Reuters

Health insurers want to pay a subsidy of 50 to 250 euros to members who buy a smartwatch or fitness band. That’s because the devices could encourage people to live healthier lives. And maybe some health data can be tapped into, too. But every informed health insurance patient already knows that. Data protectionists have been sounding the alarm for some time.

Some media reports about the plans of the health insurance companies may also trigger the alarm. They seem to be subsidizing only one product: the Apple Watch. The FAZ headlines "First health insurance company pays for Apple Watch," the Suddeutsche: "Subsidy for the Apple Watch," and the Welt: "These health insurance companies subsidize the Apple Watch. Has Apple now also bribed the cash registers?

No, the company is merely reaping the rewards of its years of work. Time and again, Apple has managed to turn its product presentations into "events". With every new product, fans camped out in front of the stores to get their hands on the must-haves. And many journalists were also enthusiastically present at every event.

It’s clear that they now equate the Apple Watch with smartwatches and fitness bands. Just as Tempo has managed to stand for handkerchiefs and Pampers for diapers. And because the reader may not have understood this yet, the articles are diligently provided with pictures of the Apple Watch.

Oh, just by the way: The cheapest model costs 399 euros, whereas a comparable Nike SportWatch GPS with sensor is already available for 169 euros. And no, we have never been to a Nike event.

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