Horizon Lands Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co., known as the longtime sponsor of TV’s Wild Kingdom, has tapped Horizon Media to handle its $25 million media buying and planning account.

The New York-based independent beat incumbent Campbell Mithunand another, undisclosed agency. Interpublic Group-owned CM continues to handle creative.

The insurer spent less than $5 million annually on media for the last 15 years, according to CMR. This year, in an effort to raise its profile, the company plans to spend $25 million, said John Hildenbiddle, client svp for brand management. Next year, that amount will drop to less than $20 million, he said, noting, “It cost a little more to get that first bit of attention.

“We’re targeting families who … have the nostalgic memories of watching [former Wild Kingdom host] Marlin Perkins, to let them know we’re still around,” said Hildenbiddle. “But we also want to introduce ourselves to new consumers who only know our competition.”

Competitors in clude Cigna and Aetna, which typically spend about $50 million a year each on media, according to CMR.

“The association with Wild Kingdom gives Mutual of Omaha a solid foundation to build on,” said Bill Koenigsberg, president and CEO of Horizon Media. “We’ve used our research tools to show how we think they can do a better job out in the marketplace, despite being outspent by their competitors.”

Wild Kingdom aired on network TV from 1963-71, when it was syn dicated on the Mutual of Omaha National Syndication Network. Taken off the air in 1987, it is now running on the Animal Planet cable network.