The four shops believed to have made the cut from a list of nine are Katsin/Loeb, Mandelbaum Mooney Ashley and and Saatchi & Saatchi/Pacific, along with incumbent Coleman & Christison, all S.F.
Executives at these agencies either declined comment or did not return phone calls, but the assortment surprised onlookers.
When Blue Shield began its review it made contact with a large number of shops that had experience in the health care industry, either currently or with past clients. But with the exception of Katsin/Loeb and the incumbent, the other shops have not had such experience.
Executives at Blue Shield said in their letter of invitation to agencies that they would not require spec creative in the pitch. But the agencies involved will likely be required to present strategic ideas that address the issues Blue Shield, which markets a variety of managed care products throughout California to both individuals and groups, will be facing in the coming year.
'Hillarycare' as the health care reform proposals currently under development by President Bill Clinton's wife are referred to, is expected to significantly change not only the rules under which insurers provide benefits but also the range of products they offer. Most of these companies are currently in flux - trying to anticipate the changes the government will impose along with strategies for adapting.
Most agency executives with clients in the industry believe that the changes will result in larger ad accounts, at least for those shops that handle the healthiest of the providers.
It's believed that Blue Shield, which has declined any comment on the review, originally sent letters to more than 20 shops in the San Francisco Bay area. The list was later whittled down to 9, including Hawk Media/S.F., Headlands Communications/S.F., Hoffman/Lewis, Oakland, Calif., Ketchum/S.F. and Hal Riney & Partners/S.F., along with the current finalists.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)