Fla. Blue Cross Finally In Finals

Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida is in the final stages of a review for its advertising account, confirmed a consultant working with the client.
In a request for proposals from Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida vice president of advertising and market communications David Pizzo, obtained by Adweek, the client’s 1998 advertising and marketing budget is in the $8-12 million range.
According to Chris Kennedy, managing director of Direct Effect, a consulting firm working with the client, the review has reached the final round. Though Kennedy would not disclose the names of all the contenders, he did say that incumbent Foote, Cone & Belding of Chicago made the cut.
Overall, eight agencies were invited to participate in the review.
Pizzo could not be reached at press time for comment.
Responses were due back April 30, which the client was scheduled to review May 1. Three weeks later three finalists were supposed to make final presentations, and a decision was due two weeks after that.
Kennedy, however, said the process has taken longer than first expected, though it has reached the finalist stage.
Finalists were asked to respond to a “single business case problem,” and speculative creative was not encouraged. In fact, the request for proposal stated that an agency presenting spec work would “diminish” its chance to win the business.
The problem the agencies were asked to consider concerned the client’s challenge of marketing to seniors citizens. Blue Cross/Blue Shield sells products to that population segment through direct marketing and agent sales. The shops receiving the questionnaire were invited, in part, because they had strong direct marketing reputations.
The finalists were also given the option of meeting with the client privately before final presentations. If contenders did, they had to pledge that information from those meetings would remain confidential.