Aetna Examines Ad Assignments
NEW YORK–Aetna is in the process of evaluating its agency roster, a move that could prompt it to realign its ad assignments, sources said. Ammirati Puris Lintas here, which handles the insurer’s corporate branding and retirement services account, may come up short, while roster shop McKinney & Silver, Raleigh, N.C., may benefit, sources said. McKinney, which could not be reached, recently won duties for Aetna’s US HeathCare unit. APL referred calls to the client, which declined comment. Aetna spent $65 million on ads in 1997 and $35 million through September, per Competitive Media Reporting. The discussions on agency assignments are unrelated to Aetna’s plan to acquire Prudential Health Care.
AAR, Bob Wolf Team to Create Consultancy
NEW YORK–Search consultancy AAR North America has merged with Bob Wolf Partners & Co., based in Los Angeles, to create AAR/Bob Wolf Partners. The operation now touts a bicoastal presence, as well as offices in London, Paris and Sydney, Australia. The entity will be run by partners Leslie Winthrop, Hasan Ramusevic, Bob Wolf, an ex-Chiat/Day executive, and Dan Pearlman. Plans are underway for offices in Chicago, Mexico City and Toronto by 2000.
Amex Division Contacts Shops About Project
NEW YORK–American Express’ Merchant Acquisitions Division has contacted three undisclosed agencies about a new direct marketing creative project aimed at consumers, sources said. Creative chores involve newspaper, radio and direct mail tasks, sources said. Billings were not available. Ogilvy & Mather here is the lead Amex shop; DraftWorldwide, Chicago, handles direct-to-business efforts and Bronner Slosberg Humphrey, Boston, direct-to-consumer chores. A client rep declined comment.
Sprint’s $250 Mil. Media Task Up for Grabs
NEW YORK– Five to six shops are pitching Sprint’s estimated $250 million media account, mostly at J. Walter Thompson in New York, the client confirmed last week. JWT will defend against lead creative shop McCann-Erickson, New York, Leo Burnett’s Starcom in Chicago, TeleVest in New York and undisclosed shops, sources said. Sprint and the agencies declined comment. JWT in San Francisco lost consumer creative duties to McCann in September.
Account Activity
DDB Needham, New York, has won online service Juno’s $20-25 million account, after a review. Incumbent Jordan McGrath Case & Partners did not participate Kraft Foods has tapped Foote, Cone & Belding, New York, to develop strategy and ads for its new alliance with Starbucks Coffee. Billings were undisclosed. FCB Direct already handles Kraft’s Gevalia coffee Sony’s Information Technologies division is expected to shift its estimated $15 million account to Young & Rubicam, San Francisco, from Citron Haligman Bedcarrƒ, San Francisco, sources said.