Liberty Mutual Starts Digital Search

BOSTON Insurance company Liberty Mutual has hired consulting firm Pile and Co. to lead a review of some of its digital advertising chores.

Pile and Co. confirmed that the process has begun and that the incumbent shop, Interpublic Group’s Hill, Holliday, would be participating.

Hill, Holliday’s standing as overall lead agency on the business is not in jeopardy, according to a representative at Pile, who declined to discuss specific details about the competition. Per Nielsen, the insurer’s media spending rose 25 percent in ’08 to $115 million, making it one of Hill, Holliday’s largest single accounts.

The budget for the work in play was not disclosed but is likely in the $5-10 million range.

Hill, Holliday issued this statement: “As part of company protocol, Liberty Mutual has placed its Digital Acquisition (search and display only) for personal markets assignment into review. This review process is a company standard for the Personal Markets Business Unit, which requires an agency review every three years. As Liberty Mutual’s agency of record, Hill, Holliday will certainly participate in this review.”

Client officials declined comment. Liberty Mutual, Pile and Hill, Holliday are all based in Boston.

Hill, Holliday’s high-profile efforts for the client in recent years have focused on themes of taking personal and professional “Responsibility.” The latest salvo was launched in March in the form of a series of short films focusing on the lives of a fictitious family, the Marlowes. That work is streamed at the client’s Responsibility Project site, which has become an increasingly important vehicle for the insurer’s brand-building and communications initiatives.

Hill, Holliday late last week cut 14 staffers, about 3 percent of its headquarters payroll, but the move was motivated by the economy at large and not tied to actions or spending cuts by any specific clients.