Oakland, Calif.-based HMO Kaiser Permanente has been working with consultant Brandstream Partners, based in Seattle, on its positioning for over a year. This is the first time Brandstream has conducted an agency search, the brand development company's principal, Dave Melancon, said.
Covers nine states
Kaiser Permanente provides health care to 8 million residents in nine states and is looking for a national advertising agency. "They are looking for a partner to reposition the brand to change consumer perceptions," Mr. Melancon said.
Currently, a handful of regional advertising agencies handle creative for Kaiser Permanente, while Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative Media handles media buying and planning and Omnicom Group's Rapp Collins does direct marketing.
Seven agencies have been invited to discuss their credentials with Brandstream: Interpublic agencies McCann-Erickson Worldwide, Campbell-Ewald and Deutsch; WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather; and Omnicom's Merkley Newman Harty Partners and TBWA Worldwide.
Mr. Melancon said that once those talks have taken place the list will be narrowed and request for proposals will be sent to three or four of the agencies, while Rapp Collins and Initiative Media will be invited to pitch an integrated offering with their respective sibling agencies.
The consultant said Kaiser Permanente spent approximately $22 million on advertising last year and is expected to double that amount.