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Aetna and Earvin “Magic” Johnson – Working Together to Improve Community Health and Health Literacy


Innovative Ad Campaign and Interactive Web Site Encourage Wellness, Physical Activity, Preventive Care, and Candid Conversations with Care Providers --

HARTFORD, Conn. — Aetna (NYSE: AET) and Earvin “Magic” Johnson have launched an exciting new multi-media advertising campaign in major urban markets across America, and an interactive web site, Both are designed to “edu-tain” - or educate and entertain people on the issues of health literacy, wellness and healthy behaviors, and racial and ethnic inequality in health care. These new initiatives, together with planned appearances, reflect the vitality and momentum of the groundbreaking partnership established between the two organizations earlier this year.

“Most Americans have the power to improve their health, but need encouragement and support to achieve and maintain an optimal state of health or wellness,” said Ronald A. Williams, Aetna chairman and chief executive officer. “With this campaign, Aetna and Magic Johnson are working to make health information simple and easy, and build awareness among individuals and families, of the importance of living a healthier lifestyle.”

The advertisements feature Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises, speaking in direct and plain language about common barriers to good health, such as a lack of exercise, and encourage people to take action to improve their health. They will run in New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles through the end of October.

The ads use venues that capitalize on a near term, simple opportunity to make a healthier decision. For example, in Atlanta’s Peachtree Center MARTA station a poster ad placed next to escalators shows a photo of Johnson and a quote: “Ride and take a load off your feet. Walk, and take a load off your middle.”

The advertisements also directly challenge barriers to better health in a direct, no-nonsense manner. In one powerful ad, Johnson notes: “At the doctor, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Nobody ever died of embarrassment.” In another which will appear on the side of busses, he points out: “For some people, it’s easier to ask which bus to take than which medicine to take.”

“This campaign is all about giving people the information they need in order to make healthier and smarter decisions for themselves and their families,” said Johnson.

In addition to encouraging healthy food choices and more physical activity, the advertisements invite people to visit The web site aims to provide simple, clear information that people can use to make healthier lifestyle changes. Visitors can find usable information including simple information on how to plan for a doctor’s visit, questions to ask if you’re having surgery, healthy eating on a budget, questions to ask your pharmacist, dental health information and others.

Visitors also will be able to stop in to a virtual fast food restaurant where they can learn how many calories are in common choices such as a slice of pizza or fried chicken, and how much exercise that food choice might take to burn off.

The site also features healthy alternative food choices and recipes created by Roneice Weaver, M.S., R.D., L.D. a founding partner and executive director of Hebni Nutrition Consultants, Inc., developer of the original Soul Food Pyramid -- a culturally sensitive food guide - and co-author of several healthy soul food cookbooks.

The advertisements, web site and printable materials on the web site are available today in English, and will be available beginning September 15, in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. The full suite of advertisements is posted at

Aetna and Magic Johnson Enterprises announced the “Team up for a Healthy Tomorrow” initiative in January 2008. The principal goals of the three-year collaboration are to create a dialogue and action in diverse urban and suburban communities to help people understand the health resources available to them, and encourage them to take a more active role in their health and wellness. In addition, the initiative seeks to give credible voice, via a recognized and respected leader, to major issues in health care such as the need to improve health literacy and racial and ethnic inequality in health care, thereby empowering people to ask questions, seek answers and create a demand for high quality health care that respects their cultural preferences.

Johnson has appeared at several Aetna-sponsored events this year in New York, Chicago and Orlando, and is scheduled to be in Atlanta later this year.


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