HMS to Sing Anthem’s Praises

Ohio Shop Hangs On With Growing Health Insurer After Review
CHICAGO–HMS Partners expanded its relationship with Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield by besting two other finalists for the acquisition-minded company’s growing account.
The Columbus, Ohio, shop was chosen by the insurer after a review that sources said came down to HMS, Fahlgren in Columbus and Bates Midwest in Indianapolis.
The business, which includes media buying, is expected to bill $10-12 million and has grown as Anthem has expanded the number of state Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans it owns to seven.
“It’s really the job of bringing this company together,” Milenthal said. “We’ll create a common brand based on common benefits.”
Anthem, Indianapolis, is the Blue Cross/Blue Shield licensee for Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, Colorado, New Hampshire and Nevada. Anthem remains in negotiations for Maine’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan.
HMS was the incumbent for Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. O’Neal & Prelle in Hartford, Conn., handled Connecticut and was initially involved in the review before being cut. Barradas Yeaton & Wold in Portsmouth, N.H., worked with that state’s Blue Cross licensee before Anthem purchased the business last fall.
HMS was chosen because “they hit the brand position strategy best and they were the most multi-dimensional,” said Jay Blumberg, director of corporate brand management at Anthem. The decision was made by a committee of executives from each of Anthem’s regions.
Blumberg and Milenthal both declined to discuss the company’s positioning, which will be unveiled with HMS’s first work in the fall.
“It was being built at the same time of the review process and they developed against it,” Blumberg said.
HMS’s win includes media planning and buying. In addition to the brand overlay, the work contains some regional components, including regional media plans.
Anthem insures about 5 million people and had revenue of approximately $5.9 billion last year, according to company figures. K