Mutual of Omaha Taps Horizon

Mutual of Omaha Insur ance Co., the longtime sponsor of Wild Kingdom, has selected Horizon Media to handle its $25 million media buying and planning account.

The New York-based independent beat incumbent Campbell Mithun in Chicago and another, undisclosed shop. Interpublic Group agency CM, which took over the account from Bozell’s former Omaha, Neb., office earlier this year, continues to handle creative.

The company spent less than $5 million a year on media for the last 15 years, per CMR. This year, in an effort to raise its profile, the insurer plans to spend $25 million, said John Hil denbiddle, client svp for brand man agement. Next year, that amount will drop to under $20 million, he said.

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

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

“The association with Wild Kingdom gives Mutual of Omaha a solid foundation to build on,” said Bill Koe nigsberg, shop president and CEO.

Wild Kingdom ran on network TV from 1963-71, when it was syn di cated on the insurer’s network. Pulled in 1987, it now airs on Animal Planet.

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