Nationwide Explains Its Review

Concern that a conflict would arise from the possible absorption of Ketchum Advertising by sister Omnicom Group agency TBWA Chiat/Day was part of the reason Nationwide Insurance Enterprise launched a review for its $22 million ad account last week, the client said.
TBWA C/D’s New York office handles New York Life Insurance. Steve Johnston, vice president of advertising for Nationwide, said that could pose a conflict should Omnicom proceed with a plan to make Ketchum part of TBWA C/D, a scenario that has been under consideration for some time.
“We’re not sure what that means to us as a client, frankly,” said Johnston. “They [Ketchum] are good folks, but we also have to look out for our own needs.” Executives at Ketchum in Pittsburgh declined to comment.
The review also includes the company’s Wausau (Wis.) Insurance unit, handled by Cramer-Krasselt, Milwaukee, for more than 20 years. Both incumbents have been invited to defend.
Consultancy Achenbaum Bogda Associates, New York, has contacted about a dozen agencies “within a two-hour flight of Columbus, [Ohio,]” and with $150-400 million in billings, Johnston said.
The winning agency will be asked to develop a new campaign using the client’s longtime tagline, “Nationwide is on your side,” created by a Cleveland freelancer in 1956.