Adworks, Trone Are Finalists for Trigon Blue Cross

Three finalists have emerged in the competition for Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield’s advertising business.

Client sources confirmed that Adworks in Washington, D.C., Trone Advertising in Greensboro, N.C., and Gillespie in Princeton, N.J., have advanced to the finals of the review for the estimated$2-3 million account.

A decision is expected by the end of the month, sources said.

The winner will be determined by the results of “a strategic assignment the three shops will present the week of Dec. 17,” according to a source.

Incumbent Arnold in McLean, Va., did not participate. The Richards Group in Dallas and Mc-Kinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C., were among a dozen shops originally contacted by the Richmond, Va.-based client.

Trigon, a licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in Chicago, provides medical insurance to some 2 million corporate and individual members. Its primary service area is Virginia, along with the U.S. satellite offices of commonwealth-based clients.

Arnold, which held the account for less than one year, did not execute a full-scale creative campaign, a development sources tied to restructuring and other changes within Trigon and Blue Cross Blue Shield. For example, licensees like Trigon, historically not-for-profits, now typically operate as for-profit enterprises.

“We never got off on the right foot with Arnold,” said a Trigon marketing executive.

Prior to Arnold, The Martin Agency in Richmond held the business for a dozen years.

Like other health insurance providers, Trigon finds itself in a rapidly changing industry, wrestling with managed care and other issues as its core baby-boomer client base moves into middle age. At the same time, employers, strapped by a poor economy, are being forced to rework their healthcare plans.

“This is a dynamic industry,” said client advertising manager Melissa Viscomi [Adweek, Oct. 8]. “The strength of our brand is increasingly important.”

In recent years, the client has been positioned as “The one to count on.”