PROVIDENT TAPS SAATCHI & SAATCHI: INSURER BACKS CONSUMER AD CAMPAIGN WITH $20 MIL

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Provident Cos. has tapped Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, to handle its first major consumer advertising, budgeted at $20 million.

Hoping to build name recognition and awareness of its disability coverage, Provident will break a cable, network TV and print ad effort in the fall.

BROUILLARD HAD HANDLED

Provident put its account in review about four months ago and had discussions with about nine other agencies.

Brouillard Communications, New York, a unit of J. Walter Thompson Co., previously handled the marketer's account, mostly limited to trade ads directed at insurance agents.

The ability to create advertising that would reach "middle America" was the reason Provident chose Saatchi & Saatchi, said Keith Hickerson, VP-marketing for the company, the largest disability insurance provider in the U.S.

Jennifer Laing, Saatchi & Saatchi North American chairman-CEO, said the pitch demanded not only strategic thinking but "a breakthrough creative solution" to address Provident's newly expanded marketing goals.

Mr. Hickerson said the fall campaign aims to change the perception that disability insurance is used only for crippling accidents. Ads will promote the fact disability insurance can help people suffering temporary impairments.

Provident, which sells its products through insurance agents rather than directly to the public, also wants to build name recognition and a friendly consumer image.

INSURER AS ADVOCATE

"We want to be seen as an advocate," Mr. Hickerson said.

The Provident win caps more than $120 million in new billings Saatchi & Saatchi has nabbed since the beginning of 1998. Wins include Beck's North America's Beck's beer; a General Mills co-marketing assignment; Heurer Time & Electronics; and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Oil of Olay.

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