Sherry Matthews Advertising & Public Relations has won the state review for a new program designed to provide children from low-income families with health insurance.
The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) account, which includes media buying and planning, is valued at $2 million.
Sherry Matthews bested two other finalists: Hill & Knowlton and Special Audience Marketing. All three agencies are located in Austin, Texas.
Respondents were asked to provide two case histories of integrated ad campaigns and at least one example of work demonstrating "experience with culturally competent, multimedia, statewide campaigns," per the state request for proposal.
Finalists submitted creative proposals, which were field-tested on six focus groups contracted by CHIP.
CHIP, which is overseen by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, was authorized by the state legislature in May 1999. Administrators anticipate enrolling 400,000 uninsured children in the non-Medicaid health insurance program next year.
A strong advertising effort is needed to quickly get CHIP on its feet, particularly with Texas facing a federal investigation concerning whether the state improperly excluded people from Medicaid or the new insurance program. Although funds for CHIP became available in 1997, Texas has lagged behind other states in implementing the program.
Last week Dell Computer founder Michael Dell made headlines by announcing he would personally pay insurance premiums for children in Travis and Williamson counties until the CHIP program begins.