HMO KAISER PERMANENTE NARROWS REVIEW

Three Interpublic Agencies Contend for Account

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Kaiser Permanente, an Oakland, Calif.-based health maintenance organization, has narrowed its review for an image advertising agency of record to three, the consultant handling the search said.

Campbell-Ewald, Warren, Mich., and

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Los Angeles; Deutsch, Los Angeles; and McCann-Erickson Humancare, a unit of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, will progress to the next stage of the review, said David Melancon, principal of consulting firm Brandstream Partners, which is handling the review. The three agencies are part of Interpublic Group of Cos.

December decision
Agencies will not pitch an advertising campaign but rather how the company can reposition itself in the marketplace using an integrated approach. A final decision will be made in mid- to late December.

Kaiser is now "reviewing all of its marketing communications relationships and efforts in order to ensure good return on investment and effectiveness," Mr. Melancon said. The current review could trigger changes in other agency relationships.

Incumbents
Kaiser currently uses Omnicom Group's Rapp Collins, New York, for direct marketing, and Interpublic's Initiative Media, Los Angeles, for media buying and planning. A handful of regional advertising agencies handle creative.

The HMO provides health care to 8 million residents in nine states and is looking for a national advertising agency.

Kaiser spent $11 million in measured media in 2002 and $7.4 million from January to August 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

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