Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield Initiates Review

Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield has put its advertising account into review.

The Richmond, Va.-based healthcare insurer sent out requests for information to 12 agencies in the South, Northeast and Midwest, according to client sources.

McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C., The Richards Group in Dallas and Gillespie in Princeton, N.J., are among those contacted.

Incumbent Arnold in McLean, Va., which won the estimated$2-3 million business a year ago, will not participate in the review.

“This is a dynamic industryright now,” said client advertising manager Melissa Viscomi. “The strength of our brand is increasingly important. At the same time, we need to speak clearly to consumers and the business community about managed care and other issues impacting us.”

Trigon Blue Cross Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association in Chicago, provides medical insurance to some 2 million corporate and individual members. Its primary service area is Virginia, but also includes satellite offices of commonwealth-based companies.

In recent years, the client has been positioned as “The one to count on.”

Arnold did not execute a full-scale creative campaign, a development sources tied to restructuring and other changes within both Trigon and Blue Cross Blue Shield. For example, licensees like Trigon, historically not-for-profits, typically operate as for-profit enterprises.

“There were so many changes under way,” said a source familiar with the Arnold situation. “We never got off on the right foot.”

Prior to Arnold, The Martin Agency in Richmond held the business for a dozen years.

According to Viscomi, the next step in the review will be trimming the 12 shops originally invited. That process will be followed by agency visits. The execution of a “strategic challenge” will determine a winner among the finalists.

Trigon has historically driven its business through print and broadcast advertising.