VHA Inc., a cooperative representing more than 1,600 community hospitals and healthcare organizations, awarded its $15 million branding account to Campbell Mithun Esty, Minneapolis.
VHA officials are still determining the agency's specific duties, said company representative Mack Haning.
"We're still exploring a number of marketing initiatives," he said. The assignment is expected to include work targeted to consumers as well as co-op members.
VHA provides research and advocacy services to not-for-profit healthcare organizations. The Irving, Texas-based client is expected to spend $15 million in the coming year, and possibly more than $30 million in subsequent years, sources said.
The announcement came following a nationwide search. Other contenders were not disclosed.
VHA has worked with a number of agencies in the past, most recently Hadeler Sullivan Ewing, Dallas, on an information services project. That project was completed in November, and the agency did not participate in the review.
VHA has handled most of its advertising through an in-house agency. Haning said the new relationship would not affect the company's in-house operation.
"It'll remain the same," Haning said. "We will still be serving members through our in-house operation."
VHA's announcement comes as many investor-owned networks such as Humana and Kaiser Permanente, which have increased their dominance in the healthcare market, have retained agencies to conduct national corporate image campaigns targeting consumers and Wall Street.