Allstate Seeks Agency for Encompass Insurance

Division's Creative Up for Grabs; Leo Burnett, Ogilvy, Goodby Apparently in Mix

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Allstate Corp. is seeking a creative agency for its Encompass Insurance division.
Although Allstate spends big -- $260 million in measured media during the first nine months of 2006 -- Encompass traditionally has been a lightly marketed brand.
Although Allstate spends big -- $260 million in measured media during the first nine months of 2006 -- Encompass traditionally has been a lightly marketed brand.

Allstate's agency of record for the last half-century, Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is pitching the business, but with the marketer-mandated stipulation that no one on the Allstate account participates, according to people familiar with the matter.

Also pitching
Also thought to be pitching are WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago, which handles Allstate's direct marketing, and Omnicom Group's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco.

An Allstate spokesman declined to comment. A Leo Burnett spokeswoman and Ogilvy Managing Director Linda Garrison referred calls to Allstate, and a Goodby spokesman declined to comment.

Encompass, acquired by Allstate in 1999, focuses on personal property-casualty insurance sold by independent agents. It has more than 1.2 million customers in 42 states and has written more than $1.7 billion in personal insurance.

Big spender
Although Allstate spends big -- $260 million in measured media during the first nine months of 2006 -- Encompass traditionally has been a lightly marketed brand, particularly in an insurance category that has become the free-spending domain of ubiquitous ducks, cavemen, geckos and TV personalities. Despite the largesse of its competitors, Encompass spent only $200,000 in measured media during the past two years, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Last year, however, Allstate named a new Encompass president, Cynthia Hardy Young, who is said to favor more aggressive marketing. Just last month, Encompass joined the online insurance-rate-comparison site Insurance.com, a move that could begin to raise its profile. Encompass' rates will be posted alongside those of big-name insurers including Travelers, Liberty Mutual and Hartford.