Allianz looks to build its name in US, plans $2m PR pushwith WSW help

MINNEAPOLIS: Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America is

planning a $2 million PR campaign to increase its name

recognition and promote a new product offering to consumers and

insurance agents. Newly appointed agency Weber Shandwick Worldwide has

four people working on the account.



Allianz, the US arm of Germany's Allianz AG, hired the Minneapolis

office of WSW to work on brand building and media relations. PR efforts

will target consumer, business, and financial press, as well as the

independent agents who sell Allianz insurance. Weber is also working

with Allianz's various business units on PR projects.



Spending with WSW is only a portion of the $2 million PR budget,

said John McKay, SVP of corporate marketing and communications.



Allianz will also sponsor a senior professional golf tournament, the

Allianz Championship, to be held in Des Moines, IA from September

3-9.



McKay has been building the now 60-person marketing and communications

department since taking his position at Allianz late last year. The

company had done virtually no PR since acquiring Life US Holding in

1999, but decided that with the integration of that acquisition

complete, it was time to raise its profile with US consumers, according

to McKay.



The new PR push is part of a $20 million marketing campaign that

includes ads for a new product, Allianz's Life Fund, an insurance that

pays people during such events as prolonged illness.



McKay's internal staff is working on employee communications efforts

that include the planned September 26 unveiling of a 105-foot square

banner featuring pictures of all 1,800 employees. The banner will hang

from the company's new suburban Minneapolis headquarters, which faces a

major expressway.



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