Partners & Simons' work for Charles Schwab and H.P. Hood helped put the shop over the top last week in the pitch for the $4.5-6 million ad account of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Massachusetts.
The Boston agency, pitching in tandem with Pro Media in Natick, Mass., overcame Ingalls in Boston for the high-profile assignment.
Partners principals Tom Simons and Walter Mills, along with creative director Jeff Billig and account manager Tony Cotrupi, formed the pitch team and will oversee the business. "It's a great New England brand," Mills said. The agency may hire additional staff, he said.
With its integrated marketing services and past project work for Blue Cross, Ingalls was perceived as the favorite. In the end, however, "size didn't matter," said client official Noreen Young. Partners' "creative passion" and case studies for Schwab and Hood won the day, she said.
"Our strategy is . . . communicating a product within a brand," Young said. "That's a fine line," which Partners proved it has mastered, especially in its recent national campaign for Schwab.com., she said.
Speculative materials were not required during final presentations last week.
Ingalls' case studies for Citizens Bank and Radisson Hotels, while worthy, were simply not as compelling, Young said. An Ingalls representative said the shop would have no comment.
Partners and Pro Media replace Holland Mark Martin Edmund in Boston, which parted with the client as the year began. The split has been attributed to differences in strategic philosophy and management changes inside Blue Cross, sources have said.
Separately, during an interview last week on cable network CNBC, Schwab president David Pottruck said the San Francisco-based investment firm had "scaled back" its advertising in an effort to slow traffic to its Web site while it worked on fixing technical glitches.
--with Judy Warne