The health insurer had been working with Havas' Arnold Worldwide on the business since 2010. The win is an expansion of Ogilvy's relationship with the marketer; in April 2012 it picked up the B-to-B account, which was previously at sibling agency G2. This move follows a change by Aetna last year on the media side. It tapped Interpublic's UM as its media agency of record, after trimming its agency roster for its media, digital and direct marketing accounts.
Aetna and the agencies could not be immediately reached for comment on the account shift.
But an internal note from Ogilvy senior management to employees today said: "This is a terrific win and we owe it mainly to the Aetna team who have been working tirelessly to first onboard a very complex business and then very quickly turn it into a well oiled machine."
It went on to note the timeliness of the win given the discussions in Washington around healthcare. "With the Affordable Care Act now in effect and the growing importance of public and private health exchanges the health insurance industry is rapidly transforming from a pure B2B business to one that is primarily a consumer driven. Consumer brand advertising therefore has become crucially important for Aetna and we couldn't be more excited to be their main agency partner in this transformation."
Whether the new communications will mean more dollars being poured into brand advertising remains to be seen. Aetna spent $42.7 million on measured media in 2012, according to Kantar Media, down from $60.4 million in 2011.
The Aetna business follows Ogilvy's pickup of the E-Trade account in July. For Arnold, the loss comes as the agency is battling some headwinds. At the start of the year, the Boston-based shop lost its Lee Jeans account to Omnicom Group's GSD&M, and it also said goodbye to the McDonald's New England regional account this summer.
On the executive front, Arnold's longtime chief creative officer, Pete Favat, recently decamped to join Deutsch, Los Angeles. Arnold promoted a pair of creatives, Wade Devers and Pete Johnson, to succeed Mr. Favat.