Sun Life Financial Opens Creative and Media Review

For Incumbent Martin Agency, Comes Weeks After Parting With Expedia

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Insurer Sun Life Financial has opened an agency review and is seeking new ideas from creative and media agencies. The incumbent shop is Richmond, Va.-based Martin Agency.

"Sun Life appreciates the work of the Martin Agency over the past three years. ... With the recent changes in our U.S. business focus to emphasizing employee group insurance and voluntary benefits, we needed to make changes to our advertising approach," said a spokesman for the firm, which is headquartered in Toronto.

He added: "We recently began a search for a new firm to help us implement our new approach and we have retained the firm Ark Advisors to conduct our search."

The review process is just beginning to get under way, and it's understood that agencies are being asked to pitch both creative and media together. It's likely that Interpublic Group of Cos.-owned Martin will keep the media portion of the business through the remainder of the year, however.

Sun Life Financial spent a total of $20 million on domestic measured media in 2011, according to Kantar. A provider of life insurance, as well as retirement and investment solutions, it has operations in the U.K., Ireland, Japan, India, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Bermuda.

For the Martin Agency, the pitch follows a parting of ways with its Expedia client, which hired Omnicom Group's 180 to handle creative.

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