Blue Cross Puts CCP on Notice

CHICAGO Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Texas will launch a review this fall for its $11 million account, currently handled by Chicago Creative Partnership here, according to a client executive.

John Ori, director of corporate advertising for the client, said he put the independent agency on 90-day notice on March 1. The account will move in-house this summer, and a review will begin around Oct. 1, he said.

The decision to leave CCP is separate but related to the course of action by CCP president and creative director Kevin Houlihan and director of client services Brad Most, who have decided to open their own shop in Chicago, Ori said. “[Kevin’s] mainly who I bought into,” Ori said, adding that the creative team who had been working on the account left early this year for Omnicom Group’s DDB in Chicago.

Ori said Houlihan and Most’s agency would likely be invited to pitch the business, though he stressed it wouldn’t be “a sham review.” Houlihan and Most could not immediately be reached for comment.

“Right now, they’re a two-person agency,” Ori said. “I’m going to have to see what they’re going to do.”

Ori said he would seek a small agency in Chicago that could give the account a level of attention and seniority that might not be available at larger, global networks.

The advertising account of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois and Texas is worth about $11 million in billings, Ori said. CCP has handled the account for the past five years; the most recent tagline is “Shining through.”

CCP founder and chairman Anne Cox said the account was creative only and its loss would not result in layoffs.