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Chicago, KC Shops Add Work From the Blues

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The bottom lines of two Midwest agencies are healthier with the addition of work from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

Chicago Creative Partnership late last year was named lead agency for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Texas, while NKH&W in Kansas City, Mo., picked up advertising duties for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota.

Chicago Creative Partnership's relationship with BC/BS of Illinois and Texas began last spring after the client's agency, Headlands Communications in San Francisco, closed, said John Ori, the company's vice president of advertising.

After conducting some research into local agencies, Ori contracted CCP to create a testimonial radio campaign over the summer. That campaign gave rise to a new branding effort and the client's decision to make CCP lead agency for the company's $12 million account in December.

"We ended up clicking," Ori said. "The key for us was to get an agency big enough to have the resources and talent to service the account and small enough that, when I call, I'm talking to the right team."

With the tagline, "Redefining healthcare," CCP's campaign centers around the definitions of words such as "liberty" and "simplicity." The premise of the work arose from the summer's testimonial campaign, said Kevin Houlihan, the agency's president and executive creative director.

Print and outdoor boards for the campaign broke in mid-December. A television campaign along the same lines is expected in mid-April.

NKH&W was named lead agency for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota after a review late last year.

Dana MacNeill, the Des Moines company's vice president of marketing communications, said Wellmark officials were impressed with NKH&W's "intellectual capacity."

"Their strategic planning models and integrated marketing communications, their thinking, their spirit and their team significantly influenced our decision," she said.