McKinney & Silver has advanced to the final round of Aetna/U.S. Healthcare's $40 million review.
The Raleigh, N.C., agency joins New York's Grey in a final presentation to be made at the insurer's Hartford, Conn., headquarters this week.
There is no incumbent on the account.
Waylon Ad, the St. Louis shop that handled corporate marketing projects for Aetna, and Saatchi & Saatchi of New York were both eliminated late last month.
McKinney was invited to the pitch as a result of successful project work undertaken for Aetna's Intellihealth Web site.
According to sources involved in the review, client marketing executives scheduled an extended round to allow both Grey and McKinney to remedy perceived gaps or flaws in their marketing plans.
Agency sources declined comment on the upcoming presentations.
The winner of that round, judged by a review committee, will then give "an enhanced presentation" before Dr. John W. Rowe, who replaced William Donaldson asAetna's chief executive officer on April 1.
"Aetna is a slow-moving organism," said a source familiar with the review. "And a very cautious one."