3 Agencies Jockey for Cigna’s Ad Account

HMO spends nearly $35 million on media annually

A trio of agencies is preparing for final presentations in a review of Cigna's creative business, according to sources.

Sources identified the finalists as McCann Erickson, Grey and DDB. Avidan Strategies in New York has helped manage the process.

Cigna's media spending approached $35 million in 2012 and $23 million in the first nine months of last year, according to Kantar Media.

Among the key decision-makers is global chief marketing officer Lisa Bacus, who joined the company—from American Family Insurance—in May 2013. Earlier in her career, Bacus held marketing and brand management roles at Ford, where she spent 22 years.

The winning agency will succeed Interpublic Group's Hill Holliday in Boston, which has handled the account since 2011 and is not defending.

The search comes as the new federal healthcare law urges individuals without health benefits to sign up for coverage. That influx of new customers has spurred health maintenance organizations to sharpen their brand positionings and advertise directly to consumers. Of course, corporations who chose HMOs for their employees remain ad targets as well.

Past ads for Cigna depicted individuality and used the tagline, "Go you."

Cigna, which is based in Bloomfield, Conn., had no immediate comment and the search consultancy did not return calls. The contenders declined to comment.

Cigna's competitors include Aetna, WellPoint, Humana, UnitedHealth and Blue Cross Blue Shield.