Deutsch Quits Kaiser Permanente Contest

NEW YORK Interpublic Group’s Deutsch/LA has withdrawn from the review for Kaiser Permanente’s advertising account, the consultant confirmed.

“We have gone down to two agencies,” said David Melancon of Brandstream. “It wasn’t a fit, and we both felt it. It was a mutual decision.”

The Marina del Rey, Calif., agency’s IPG siblings, the Humancare division of McCann-Erickson in New York and the Warren, Mich., and Los Angeles offices of Campbell-Ewald, will make final presentations in about two weeks for the estimated $40 million business.

A decision is expected before Christmas, Melancon said.

The Oakland, Calif.-based health maintenance organization claims 8 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia and about $23 billion in 2002 revenue. (The nation’s largest HMO, BlueCross BlueShield, has 80 million members and $163 billion in revenue.) The client has said it wants to consolidate its communications, now spread out among several regional agencies.

IPG’s Initiative is responsible for media planning and buying, and Omnicom’s Rapp Collins handles direct. Both of those assignments could become part of the process, the client said, but it has not yet been determined if and when.