WellPoint Passes 7 Shops to Next Round

LOS ANGELES WellPoint Health Networks has cut to seven agencies in its review of creative, media and below-the-line chores, the client’s search consultant confirmed. Estimated billings are $35 million.

Catherine Bension, president of Select Resources International, Santa Monica, Calif., said that in addition to WellPoint incumbent, independent RPA, also in Santa Monica, the contenders are the Los Angeles offices of WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather and Omnicom Group’s DDB; and the San Francisco outposts of WPP’s Grey and Young & Rubicam, Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson and Publicis Groupe’s Publicis & Hal Riney.

Sources expect a cut to four agencies within the next two weeks, with a decision by early July.

Billings were undisclosed. WellPoint, Thousand Oaks, Calif., merged last year with Anthem to create the largest managed healthcare provider [Adweek, April 19, 2004], including UniCare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield operating in several different states.

The companies spent a combined total of $35 million last year on ads, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.