Health Insurance Giant Cigna Divides Account Between Omnicom and IPG Shops

Company's Ad Spending Leapt in 2013

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Part of Cigna's effort to attract sign-ups during Obamacare's open enrollment period.
Part of Cigna's effort to attract sign-ups during Obamacare's open enrollment period.

Cigna, the giant health insurance provider, is set to award its creative agency business to Interpublic Group's McCann and media to Omnicom's OMD, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company spent $46.9 million on domestic measured media in 2013, a huge jump from the year prior, when it spent $33.4 million, according to Kantar Media.

In the final round of the separate media and creative pitches, Cigna pitted Omnicom shops (OMD for media and DDB for creative) against IPG shops (McCann and UM), according to people familiar with the matter. But rather than making the more obvious decision and consolidating within one of the two holding companies, the company decided to split the assignments.

Agencies mentioned declined to comment or couldn't immediately be reached. Cigna did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In 2011, the Bloomfield, Conn., company appointed IPG's Hill Holliday to lead consumer advertising and business-to-business work. The creative out of that shop, which didn't defend during this review, focused on the tagline "Go You." Hill Holliday was also the incumbent on the media business.

The shift from Hill Holliday to two new large shops signals a significant marketing investment for the insurer and comes as federal policy changes mean consumers are shopping around for insurance plans. Cigna, which is selling marketplace plans in five states, has already announced it expects to lose money due to the marketplaces, and said enrollment was less than expected. But the new competition for consumers also means that insurers like Cigna will have to advertise to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

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