Kaiser Taps C-E, Prepares DR Review

NEW YORK Kaiser Permanente has awarded creative chores on its $40 million ad account to Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald following a shootout with sibling shop McCann-Erickson, the consultant who ran the process has confirmed.

Below-the-line duties such as direct response, currently with Omnicom Group’s Rapp Collins, will be reviewed next year, said David Melancon of consultancy Brandstream, which managed the ad account review.

C-E will handle the HMO’s business from its Los Angeles and Warren, Mich., offices. C-E will now share media duties with IPG-owned incumbent Initiative Media in New York, sources said. Melancon declined to comment on media.

“We were just blown away by the level of talent that these two IPG agencies [C-E and McCann] brought to the table. It was amazing,” said Melancon. “They both came back with strong strategies and creative thinking.”

C-E president Jim Palmer led the pitch and “brought a level of passion that showed,” Melancon said.

The Oakland, Calif.-based health maintenance organization has said it plans to more than double its media spend to $40 million in 2004 [Adweek, Nov. 6]. The healthcare company spent $10 million on image ads in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and about the same amount through August of this year.

Kaiser Permanente claims 8 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia and about $23 billion in 2002 revenue. (The nation’s largest HMO, BlueCross BlueShield, has 80 million members and $163 billion in revenue.) The client has said it wants to consolidate its communications, now spread out among several regional agencies.