BOSTON Virgin Life Care, a new fitness and wellness offshoot of Virgin, is nearing the end of its search for three agencies to aid in the brand's launch, the client confirmed.
The Wellesly, Mass.-based office of Virgin Life Care has already heard presentations from advertising, direct and public relations agencies and has whittled the groups down to a shortlist of three in each category, according to Martha Hooper, creative services liaison at VLC.
The undisclosed agencies are located in New England and New York. A decision is expected next week. The budgets have not been decided, but interactive efforts will figure heavily in the work.
The new company, which Virgin formed in partnership with health benefits company Humana, is a "Virgin-branded and Humana-administered individual health insurance product tied to Virgin's health and fitness reward program—the beginning of a long-term partnership," according to a May statement from the companies.
"With the development of our new company, Virgin Life Care, we believe that we can offer consumers great innovative products and services, at the right prices," said Sir Richard Branson in a statement. "Virgin Life Care will help our customers get a better deal from health insurers while monitoring and improving their own fitness. With this healthcare alliance with Humana, we'll give customers the value they've been asking for."
In 2004 Virgin spent $27 million on ads for all of its brands in the U.S., per TNS Media Intelligence.
Virgin Life Care is expected to launch in early 2006.