American Family Insurance Shifts Creative to Ogilvy, Chicago

Another Setback for Element 79

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In a blow to Omnicom's Element 79, American Family Insurance has shifted its creative-advertising account to the Chicago office of WPP's Ogilvy & Mather without a review.

In an interview, Lisa Bacus, American Family's VP-Marketing, said Ogilvy won the account, in part, because of what she described as impressive proprietary research into insurance consumers. One reason she was privy to that work was a relationship with the agency that stretches back to her days at Ford.

The work from Ogilvy, which breaks today, highlights American Family's ability to customize insurance policies, with each ad spotlighting a specific family and its unique policy.

"We think that's a unique value proposition," said Ms. Bacus.

American Family spent $36 million on measured media during the first nine months of 2009, and $32 million during all of 2008, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

The win is another move in the right direction for Ogilvy's Chicago office, which started off 2009 by losing Kraft's Oscar Mayer brand but rallied to win a highly contested pitch for CDW's consolidated account. Ogilvy won the business in tandem with sibling Mindshare, which already held the client's media account.

The loss is the latest bit of bad news to befall Element 79, which was rocked in 2008 by Pepsi's decision to pull its Gatorade, Propel, Tropicana and Quaker brands out of the shop.

The agency, which was founded to handle Quaker in 2001, still counts Cricket Wireless and Harris Bank among its clients.

Calls to agency President Brian Williams and a spokeswoman were not returned.

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