U.S. incumbent Lintas loses out

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HONG KONG -- U.S. financial services provider Aetna International has picked M&C Saatchi Hong Kong to create its first co-ordinated regional campaign across Asia. The agency scooped the business in a head-to-head contest with Lintas, which handles Aetna's U.S. account.

The company entered Asia Pacific 10 years ago, and is currently in six markets with one million policy holders, but advertising has merely been at local level via agencies of Aetna's joint venture partners. Now it is gearing up its Asian expansion program.

One of M&C Saatchi's main tasks will be to create a dialogue between Aetna and the consumer in a market where the strongest relationship has historically been between the sales agent and consumer, says M&C Saatchi Hong Kong Chief Executive Michael Moszynski. "In these expanding economies, the agents get offered more money by a competitor and take their customers with them. We're creating a branded approach which will build Aetna's relationship with the customer."

Douglas Henck, Aetna's senior vice president adds: "It is essential that we ... begin to build a consistent, regional Aetna identity. Advertising is the most powerful way of raising awareness."

The company will not reveal its Asian budget at this stage.

Copyright October 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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