AIG Reaches Out to Agencies; RFP’s Delivered

U.S. Budget Was $30 Mil. in ’98; Incumbent Ogilvy May Be Out
NEW YORK–Insurance and financial-services company American International Group began con-
tacting agencies last week about its U.S. ad account, sources said.
RFP’s sent to New York shops seek information on agencies’ direct and Internet capabilities, and on strategic planning and positioning. Shops were also asked to submit creative samples. RFP’s are due back Dec. 1. AAR/Bob Wolf Partners in New York is managing the review.
“We are just looking around to see what capabilities are out there,” said Bob McCourt, senior advertising manager at the New York-based global company. “We’re starting to build an Internet presence, so we’re constantly looking around to see what kind of talent is out there.”
Ogilvy & Mather here currently handles AIG’s automobile insurance and corporate ad accounts. AIG spent about $30 million in advertising in the U.S. in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting; of that figure, $10 million was for the automobile business, and a source estimated AIG spent $15 million on corporate advertising. Ogilvy referred all calls to the client.
Deutsch, Los Angeles, handles SunAmerica, an L.A.-based retirement-savings specialist. SunAmerica, which was purchased by AIG in January for $18.3 billion, spent $13 million on advertising in 1998. Sources said the SunAmerica business is not involved in the review.
Earlier this month, AIG launched, a Web site offering insurance information, quotes and some financial transactions. While AIG has an internal creative unit dedicated to the Internet, McCourt said: “That doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t need outside help.”
McCourt would not say whether the entire U.S. account was in review. “We may be looking around, we don’t necessarily know that we may use the incumbent,” he said. “We have Ogilvy & Mather, we have SunAmerica, whose agency-of-record is Deutsch. We’ve been talking to them about a lot [of] different assignments as well.” –with Kathleen Sampe