Aetna Juggles Media Planning, Digital Reviews

Aetna, the health-care insurer, is conducting several agency reviews, the client has confirmed. One is a media planning and buying consolidation review and another is focused on a search for a lead digital agency. Separately, Aetna is searching for an agency to lead its business-to-business advertising efforts.

The client spent more than $30 million on ads in 2010, according to Kantar Media. Through the first nine months of 2011, it spent a little over $24 million.

Belinda Lang, Aetna’s vice president of brand, advertising and consumer marketing, confirmed the reviews, stating that the company was “early in the process. Our advertising and marketing needs are growing globally,” she said. “In particular, as we become more consumer-facing, we want to ensure we have the right strategic partners.”

A company rep said it was currently working with “several agencies that handle media planning and buying for us across our corporate branding, as well as our Medicare and individual businesses,” but declined to identify any of the shops on its roster. The company also has worked with a number of digital agencies.



Contenders in the media review are said to include Initiative, MEC, Mindshare and Maxus. The shops either declined comment or referred calls to the client. It was not clear whether Harmelin Media, one of the client’s media incumbents, was participating.

On the digital side WPP’s G2, already on the client’s roster, was said to be participating. The agency’s work for the client has centered on relationship marketing, including direct, experiential and digital.  An agency rep could not be immediately reached. Other digital contenders could not be determined at deadline. 

The Hartford, CT-based Aetna reported revenues of more than $34 billion in 2010.

Boston-based Pile and Company has been hired by Aetna to help manage the review process.

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