Cigna plans to pare its global ad and PR agencies, and it could be a big loss for IPG, Omnicom, and Edelman

Cigna plans to pare its global ad and PR agencies, and it could be a big loss for IPG, Omnicom, and Edelman

02/05/2021
  • Health insurance giant Cigna launched a review of its advertising and PR business.
  • Cigna is seeking to streamline its business by consolidating wit a single agency.
  • The review could mean a loss for its current agencies IPG, Omnicom, and Edelman.
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Health insurance giant Cigna has launched a review of its global marketing business, and it could mean a loss for its current advertising and PR firms IPG, Omnicom, and Edelman.

Three people with direct knowledge of the matter said Cigna issued a request for proposal encompassing creative and digital advertising, media planning and buying, PR, brand strategy, and sponsorships. 

The sources said Cigna’s goal is to consolidate all those responsibilities with a single agency to streamline its ad business and save money.

IPG, Omnicom, and Edelman are expected to compete for the business.

Other big advertisers like Coca-Cola are also looking to slash the number of agencies they use.

Cigna is the fourth-largest health insurance provider by headcount with more than 20 million members. The company spent just under $60 million on marketing in the US in 2019, according to market research firm Kantar, though that total does not include paid social campaigns. 

Cigna hired IPG’s McCann, Omnicom’s OMD, and Edelman in 2014 when it significantly increased its marketing spend.

McCann and OMD later led Cigna’s first global campaign, which aired in countries like Hong Kong, Thailand, and Spain. Edelman contributed to the subsequent “TV Doctors of America” integrated campaign, which starred actors from popular medically-themed shows like “ER” and “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Cigna missed Wall Street’s expectations for the fourth quarter of 2020, executives said, because costs related to COVID-19 testing and treatment outpaced profit increases.

Consulting firm Burnett Collective is managing Cigna’s agency review.

A Cigna spokeswoman declined to comment. Spokespeople for Burnett, Edelman, McCann, and OMD declined to comment or did not immediately respond to related requests.

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