CHICAGO-Iowa's largest healthcare network is considering four agencies, including the incumbent, to handle its $2.5 million advertising account.
The contenders for the Iowa Health System business are the incumbent, Creswell, Munsell, Firtz & Zirbel, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; BVK/McDonald, Brookfield, Wis.; Sturm Rosenberg Cafferata, Chicago; and Medimetrix Unison, Engle- wood, Colo.
Iowa Health System, based in Des Moines, sent proposal requests to 35 agencies earlier this year and received 21 responses, according to Jim Zahnd, vice president for public affairs.
Strategic and creative presentations followed, which in turn led to the four finalists.
A decision is expected by the end of September.
The system consists of seven hospitals in five Iowa cities and 250 doctors working out of approximately 30 communities, Zahnd said. Advertising has thus far covered the complete media spectrum, including television, Zahnd said.
That mix is expected to be continued by the agency that is picked from the review.
The incumbent, CMF&Z, started as the agency for what remains the biggest entity in the system, Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines, in 1985. The Iowa Health System was begun in 1993 and has grown rapidly ever since, leading to the review.
"We're trying to identify an agency that can work in bringing all the different pieces together," Zahnd said. "It's a different kind of client these days."
Spending and the media mix will to some extent be determined by the strategic plan put forth by the winning agency, Zahnd said.
The agencies are being sorted through by the group's "Communications Roundtable," which consists of marketing and communications representatives from all the entity's affiliated partners.