Arnold Lands Aetna’s Creative Biz

Arnold has landed lead creative duties on Aetna after a review, the client has confirmed.

The other finalist was Publicis Groupe-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York, a client representative acknowledged. Arnold, a unit of Havas, will succeed WPP Group’s Grey in New York on the business. Arnold’s New York and Boston offices contributed to the winning pitch.

The assignment includes traditional and online advertising, including social media efforts. Aetna plans to ramp up media spending behind such efforts — from $15 million in the fall to $35 million next year, $45 million in 2012 and $55 million in 2013, according to the company’s initial request for proposals.

Final presentations took place last week at Aetna’s headquarters in Hartford, Conn.

Aetna is looking to reposition its brand in the wake of the federal healthcare legislation that Congress passed last month.

“The healthcare industry is in a dramatic and evolutionary phase, and we are excited to take our industry-leading brand awareness to a new level — one that resonates with both employers and consumers as relevant and compelling, driving preference, loyalty and adoption,” the Aetna rep said, in a statement.

The review did not include direct marketing duties, now at the G2 unit of Grey in New York, and media planning and buying, at independent Harmelin Media in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Arnold has won several notable accounts of late, including assignments from Alberto Culver, CVS and New Balance.