GK/V Gains Clients and Partner

Lands Coventry HMO, TrainingServer and Partner E-magination
ATLANTA–Gray, Kirk/VanSant has a new strategic partner–interactive specialist E.magination–and two account wins to go with it.
Both new clients named GK/V agency of record, bringing an estimated $10-12 million in combined new billings to the Baltimore shop.
Coventry Health Care is the larger account, a regional HMO serving 1.5 million members in 13 states. The second win is business-to-business client TrainingServer, which provides corporate and employee online training.
The Philadelphia office of Earle Palmer Brown was the incumbent on the HMO account, but was not asked to defend, according to Tom McDonough, Coventry’s chief operating officer.
McDonough said “numerous agencies” were contacted about the account before the list was narrowed to the winner and two Pittsburgh finalists: Blattner/Brunner and The St. George Group.
Coventry, based in Bethesda, Md., is the latest health insurance organization to land at GK/V, which has a solid reputation in the category from years of experience with Kaiser Permanente and various Blue Cross and Blue Shield advertising accounts. After securing Coventry, the shop resigned BC/BS of Pennsylvania.
McDonough praised GK/V’s creativity as it outlined concepts supporting the launch of an Internet-based product Coventry will roll out later this year. Agency creative director Jeff Millman called the introduction “the real carrot for us in this win.”
Millman said the agency would develop a multimedia campaign to showcase a single logo and look for Coventry’s different health plans, “though the messages may change depending on what each plan needs to communicate.”
Baltimore-based TrainingServer, an affiliate of Syscom, spoke with several undisclosed local agencies about its $3-5 million account before settling on GK/V.
“This is a great opportunity for us with a high-tech company that wants to create their own identity [and] is in a category with great potential,” said agency president and chief executive officer Roger Gray.
Gray credited his agency’s new strategic partnership with Baltimore interactive company E.magination as a critical factor in the two account wins.
“They didn’t have that big a role [in the pitches], but it was crucial,” Gray said. “Without that partnership we probably would not have gotten the business.” K