NIB appoints Ikon to $10m account

By AdNews | 29 July 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Insurance brand NIB has appointed Ikon Communications to its $10 million media buying and planning account, as the company looks to increase spend and attract a broader target market.

The agency beat out seven-year incumbent Mitchell & Partners after a drawn-out pitch process that kicked off over a year ago. A decision was expected January, however the process has taken much longer.

NIB chief marketing officer Rhod McKensey told AdNews: “Ikon came away with the account because the agency offered competitive rates and has a culture of excellence and innovation. Also, Ikon showed an understanding of private insurance, particularly in the 20 to 39 age group, which is largely our target market.”

NIB confirmed that it spends approximately $10 million a year on main media, with communications running across press, radio, television, outdoor and online. However, McKensey said NIB will be increasing its marketing spend by just under 10%, as it looks to steal market share from rivals Medibank and Bupa.

Despite a desire to continue marketing to 20 to 39 year-olds, McKensey said the appointment of Ikon might see NIB broadening its scope, provided this does not negatively impact existing brand equity.

He said that initiatives such as sports sponsorship have the potential to attract a broader audience. NIB already sponsors the NSW State of Origin team, the Newcastle Knights and the Geelong Cats, and is naming-rights sponsor for NIB Stadium in Perth. It has been speculated that the brand is in talks with the Newcastle Jets regarding sponsorship.

The publicly-listed, Newcastle-based private health insurer has been undergoing an aggressive expansion strategy of late. Since 2007, the company has been building a presence in Victoria, Queensland, and most recently Western Australia.

NIB will retain some links with Mitchell & Partners, as it will continue to use search marketing specialist Columbus and digital marketing firm emitch for digital planning and buying. 

NIB’s most recognisable advertising, created by Photon-owned BWM, features Australian rugby league identity Paul Harragon. NIB’s relationship with creative agency BWM remains unaffected by the media pitch.  DB

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