Incumbent Digitas Remains Involved in Work

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- As it follows up on an earlier promise to overhaul its direct marketing strategies and procedures, Allstate Corp. today named WPP Group's OgilvyOne of Chicago as its agency for such work.

The insurance giant also retained its incumbent agency, the independent Digitas of Boston and New York, to focus on interactive and related database marketing.

Boosting ad budget
Allstate said it would end some forms of its direct marketing, including telemarketing and direct mail, that it previously used for its life insurance, accidental death insurance and hospitality indemnity products. Meanwhile, Allstate plans to boost its advertising budget and agencies, according to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The insurer said OgilvyOne will handle its remaining direct mail projects along with segmentation, analytics and creative development of its database-driven offline marketing efforts.

Agents, not salesmen
The goal is to take some of the sales responsibilities off the shoulders of agents, which can undermine customers' perception of trust, so that direct marketing becomes the salesman, an executive said. "You don't want [agents] to come off as salesmen," the executive said.

A formal contract has yet to be signed for the work, but Ogilvy is believed to have received a letter of intent from Allstate, according to an executive close the situation.

Ogilvy referred calls to Allstate.

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Mercedes Cardona contributed to this report.

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