Aetna Inc. has moved the creative portion of its corporate and retirement services account, with billings estimated at $20 million, to Waylon Ad in St. Louis from Ammirati Puris Lintas, New York, sources said.
The move had been expected [Adweek, Dec. 21], but remains somewhat surprising given Waylon's size. The agency bills about $35 million and, without a media department, employs about 14 people. Waylon Ad is connected with The Waylon Co. promotions firm in St. Louis.
Media duties for Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna were expected to stay at APL for the time being. Waylon referred calls to Aetna; executives there could not be reached by press time.
Aetna spent about $64 million on advertising in 1997 and about $33 million through September of last year, according to Competitive Media Reporting. About $37 million of the 1997 figure went to advertise Aetna U.S. Healthcare, formerly a Waylon client on a project basis. That account is now at McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C.
Waylon began working with U.S. Healthcare shortly after the agency opened in 1995. The Blue Bell, Pa., company merged with Aetna in 1996. Waylon continued to work on projects for the managed healthcare arm of Aetna through last fall, when it broke a campaign with the tagline "Raising the quality of healthcare in America."
Those TV spots broke alongside new corporate work from APL that used a wedding theme under the tag, "What matters most,' and spots for Aetna Retirement Services, also from APL, tagged, "A plan to live well."
All the work is an effort to rebrand Aetna, long known for insurance but now concentrated in managed healthcare and investment services.
Waylon earlier this month was awarded creative work for a $15 million campaign sponsored by a coalition of HMOs, including Aetna U.S. Healthcare.