Aetna Taps UM as Media Agency of Record

Insurer Moves to Increase Spending Because of Affordable Health Care Act

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Aetna has hired Interpublic Group of Cos.' UM as its media agency of record, an Aetna spokeswoman told Advertising Age. The firm will handle media buying and planning across the insurer's consumer, Medicare and individual plan divisions, as well as keyword search.

It's understood that the budget could creep up to $60 million, which would double Aetna's 2010 spending of about $30 million on U.S. measured media, according to Kantar. The move to boost outlays comes as health insurers adjust to new guidelines and consumer demand under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which is to be fully rolled out by 2014.

Aetna previously divided marketing duties between Philadelphia-based Harmelin, which supports media buying and planning, and handles various digital tasks for the brand and WPP's G2, which oversees direct marketing for Aetna Medicare, as well as various b-to-b efforts and media for Aetna AARP.

G2 will continue working with the company on Medicare and event marketing, and will work closely with UM on media strategy in the category, the Aetna spokeswoman said.

Harmelin and G2 did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to people familiar with the review, finalists included Horizon and UM; earlier rounds included WPP's Mindshare and IPG's Initiative .

Pile & Co. was the consultant on the review. Aetna is also in the process of a digital creative review, which it expects to finalize in a couple of weeks. The review does not affect Arnold , the company's creative agency of record.

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