The victory, the latest in a series which have boosted the agency's billings by almost 67% to $45 million in a scant two months, follows closely the appointment in April of Shepard P. Pollack to the post of chairman.
Mandelbaum said Pollack proved a valuable resource in helping develop a strategy for positioning Blue Shield, in part due to his past experience as ceo of AMEX Life Assurance Co., which has a health insurance subsidiary.
The selection follows a three-month review that pitted MMA against more than 10 other Bay Area shops. MMA edged out incumbent Coleman & Christison, Saatchi & Saatchi/Pacific and Katsin/Loeb.
Though there was speculation early in the review that Blue Shield might unbundle creative and media, MMA will handle both for the S.F.-based healthcare organization.
The challenge for MMA will be to position Blue Shield as the industry faces uncertain regulatory challenges both within California and from the Clinton administration.
After a series of unsuccessful pitches early in the year, MMA last month won a $1-million assignment from the bicycle division of Bell Sports of Campbell, Calif., and the $5-million account for Spectrum Holobyte, the Alameda, Calif.-based computer game maker.
The Blue Shield win, with billings almost twice that of any of MMA's other accounts, should also raise the shop's profile. 'It'll give us a chance to be out there in a very visible way that we haven't been in a long time,' said Mandelbaum. He expects to hire two staffers on the business.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)