Blue Cross’ New Agency Will Focus on Issues

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is expected to scale back spending and place more emphasis on issue advertising once it selects a new agency, an executive for the company said.

Chicago-based Blue Cross, the umbrella organization for regional Blue Cross entities across the country, has kicked off a review through consultant Jones Lundin Beals, Chicago. Six-year incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding was not invited.

The association’s new advertising direction follows the May arrival of Joseph Bogardus, a longtime executive with Kodak, as executive director of marketing communications and support. Other members of the marketing team—Maureen Sullivan, svp of strategic services; Tom Tarr, director of brand advertising; and Christine Schneider, manager of brand advertising—are also new at their posts in the last year.

FCB’s work for Blue Cross has been image-driven, with the most recent campaign focused on a holistic approach that spoke about “My mind, my body, my spirit.” Bogardus said that approach will be scrapped. The association now plans to concentrate on print work, cutting TV from its media buy once a new shop is named.

Blue Cross also wants to address issues related to health insurance with an agency that can provide an effective lobbying voice on association matters, Bogardus said.

Spending, which had been in the $15-20 million range, is expected to be reduced, he said.

The search for a new agency will be national, and the winning shop will al so handle media, Bo gardus said.

FCB successfully defended the account two years ago in a review against most of the city’s top shops.

The agency retains regional Blue Cross business in Florida, Georgia and Maryland and the District of Columbia. Revenue from those ac counts is larger than from the work for the association, the agency said.