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WELLPOINT NARROWS $70 MILLION REVIEW TO SEVEN

Insurance Giant Is Likely to Trim Agency Search List Again

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- WellPoint, the nation's largest health insurer, has narrowed the review for its anticipated $70 million account to seven agencies.
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The contenders are located or have offices in California: independent RPA, Santa Monica, one of a number of incumbent agencies on the account; Omnicom Group's DDB, Los Angeles; WPP Group's Ogilvy Group, Los Angeles, Grey Worldwide and Y&R Cos., both in San Francisco; Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann Worldgroup, San Francisco; and Publicis Groupe's Publicis & Hal Riney.

The list is likely to be narrowed before the account is awarded in early July, said Catherine Bension, president of Select Resources International, the Santa Monica-based consultant conducting the agency search.

WellPoint spent $13 million in measured media in 2004 while Anthem spent $4.4 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

WellPoint was created by the $16.5 billion merger last November of WellPoint Health Networks and Anthem. The company holds licenses for Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and covers 28 million subscribers.

A spokesman for the Indianapolis-based company said the account was put into review as a result of the merger and a subsequent procurement review aimed at securing efficiencies.