Aetna Appoints McKinney

Healthcare Account Becomes Shop’s Third Largest
WASHINGTON, D.C.–McKinney & Silver of Raleigh, N.C., is about to experience a surge of wellness as the key agency on the estimated $30 million Aetna/U.S. Healthcare advertising account it was awarded late last week.
Aetna/U.S. Healthcare, if it reaches what sources expect it to bill this year, would be one of McKinney & Silver’s three top-billing accounts, joining the $51 million Audi of America and the $33 million Royal Caribbean International businesses.
McKinney’s overall billings were $202 million last year.
Aetna/U.S. Healthcare of Blue Bell, Pa., a company that was created by a merger less than two years ago, spent approximately $16 million advertising in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Sources close to the account said the client will spend at least $30 million in 1998.
Waylon Ad of St. Louis, which has been doing project work for the healthcare provider, is in the process of completing a fall campaign for the client and will remain involved. The field was winnowed to four shops before McKinney was selected. Other contenders were not disclosed.
“Clearly there is a learning curve on this business,” said Robert Apatoff, senior vice president of advertising for the client. “There’s a lot that McKinney has to offer; their work is very impressive and they will be doing our spring campaign.”
“This is a great company,” said Don Maurer, president of McKinney & Silver. “We want to extend that further and build them into a category leader.”
Maurer said the shop would probably continue with campaigns that include testimonials and the company’s chief medical officer, at least in the beginning.
The agency did offer speculative creative work it touted as unique, but it was unclear at press time if any of those concepts would go forward.
Also in 1998, McKinney & Silver was named agency of record for Carrabba’s Italian Grill, a unit of Outback Steakhouses.