Final trio of firms named for $100m Blue Cross effort

MINNEAPOLIS: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has narrowed its search for a 10-year health campaign to three ad agency/PR firm teams.

MINNEAPOLIS: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota has narrowed its search for a 10-year health campaign to three ad agency/PR firm teams.

A decision is expected in early August for what could be $100-$110 million in spending over 10 years.

Finalists for the business are Carmichael Lynch Spong, which has ad and PR arms, BBDO partnering with Fleishman-Hillard, and Miami ad agency Crispin Porter Bogusky partnering with Porter Novelli.

Blue Cross of Minnesota's Center for Tobacco Reduction and Health Improvement has been working with Apple Agency Relations Consultants to pare down the list from 11 firms to six and now three, said Minnesota-based consultant Jan Apple. The search began in late March.

The winners will work on anti-smoking efforts, as well as heart disease and cancer prevention, said Apple. The total spend on PR is undetermined.

The contract doesn't specify a 10-year term, so the center could switch firms at any point.

Program funding is coming from money Blue Cross received as part of the national tobacco settlement. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota along with the state had sued the major tobacco companies in 1994. It subsequently received $412 million as part of the settlement. Of that, $252 million is being used to fund disease prevention programs.

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