Etihad Airways Partner Airlines Choose Starcom for Global Media

Etihad Airways Partner Airlines Choose Starcom for Global Media

Publicis Groupe owned by Starcom Mediavest Group has won the global media planning and buying account for Etihad Airways and its three biggest partner airlines, Alitalia, Air Berlin and Jet Airways.

This win is the first of an estimated 21 major global and North American media reviews currently taking place.

Several agency networks were invited to the pitch, which was called in April, including Etihad Airways’ incumbent media agency, MediaCom.

Starcom was unable to disclose the names of the other agencies that participated in the pitch. Incumbents for the other airlines involved were OMD for Air Berlin, Mindshare for Alitalia and Dentsu Aegis Network for Jet Airways.

The combined media spend of all the airlines is unknown. But when MediaCom and Digitas LBi won Etihad’s media and digital accounts, respectively, in 2012, the estimated spend was £103 million. Numbers from the AdAge Data Centre place the Etihad Airways global media spend at £81 million in 2013.

According to a statement, Starcom is tasked with delivering scaled benefits for the Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airlines by aligning media spend across key markets.

Shane O’Hare, Etihad Airways’ senior vice-president of marketing, said: “The deal will provide millions of dollars in added value. As part of the larger group of airlines, we want to use our size to leverage the right contracts that enable us to continue to grow our commercial operations.”

Starcom is also responsible for providing centralised and strategic advice to meet the airline grouping’s unique commercial needs.

“Each airline has its own network, audience and sphere of influence and requires an agency that will understand each of the airline’s individual needs and requirements,” explained O’Hare.

Starcom was selected because it was also able to demonstrate its comprehension of the emerging media scene said O’Hare in a statement. “Their highly experienced team, resources, planning tools and buying clout in all the key EAP markets gave them a clear edge in the tender.”

“Starcom’s solution was backed with data, insights and relevance to the brand’s core values,” added Gaurang Shetty, Senior VP Commercial at Jet Airways.

The airline partners decided to work from a combined account as it would allow Starcom to maximise returns on the group’s collective investment, added O’Hare. However, the agency would also work to ensure that each brand experience remains unique and attains “optimum exposure on a global scale”.

Etihad Airways Partners launched in October last year. The alliance also includes Air Serbia, Air Seychelles and Etihad Regional.

Last August, Etihad bought a 49 per cent stake in Alitalia for US$2.4 billion and has since launched a rebrand.

Ariodante Valeri, Alitalia’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “This new partnership kicks off at a very exciting time for Alitalia. We have just launched the new livery of Alitalia aircraft, the new design of the cabins and new premium services for our guests.

“Alitalia is rapidly increasing its global reach with new long-haul services between Italy and China, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, areas of the world which are rapidly growing.”

The agreement with Starcom, he continued, will bring “significant synergies” for the partnership group and will allow Alitalia better access to traditional and digital media in all key markets.

Matt Blackborn, President for Investment and Diversification at Starcom MediaVest Group, noted that this brief is unique as it brings together multiple brands from the same industry. “[It’s] ground-breaking in the agency world,” he said.

Starcom will service the EAP airlines from key hubs placed in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy and India, with central coordination from its EMEA head office in London.

According to reports, Digitas LBi, which manages Etihad Airways’ digital media strategy, search and affiliate marketing, is unaffected by the review. The airline’s account with creative agency M&C Saatchi is also unchanged following the review.


TBWA\London Hires Gabriela Lungu as Creative Director

TBWA\London has hired Gabriela Lungu, the former UK and EMEA Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick, as a Creative Director.

Lungu will work across TBWA\London’s roster of clients, which includes Airbnb, Lidl and Adidas.

She will report to the Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, Peter Souter, and the Executive Creative Director, Jeremy Carr. Lungu joins the creative directors Walter Campbell, Sean Doyle, Marcus Iles and Jason Fletcher at the agency.

Before starting at Weber Shandwick in March 2013, Lungu was the Managing Partner and Creative Director at The Practice, a Creative PR consultancy bought by Publicis Groupe in 2013.

Souter said: “Gabriela is a creative superstar who will inject fresh perspective into our disruptive thinking. Her enthusiasm for exceptional creativity makes her a wonderful addition to our team.”

Lungu has recently worked for agencies as a freelancer and started at TBWA\London formally recently.

She said: “I’m delighted to now officially become a disruption catalyst and work with incredible, like-minded people every day.”

Virgin Atlantic Calls Media Review

Virgin Atlantic is reviewing its £12 million media business, ending its 22-year relationship with Manning Gottlieb OMD.

The process is being handled by ID Comms and MG OMD is not re-pitching.

Virgin Atlantic wants to ensure it is working with the “right partners… to help us achieve our ambitions”.

A spokeswoman said: “As with all our major agency partners, our procurement team will be playing a central role in this pitch.”

Virgin Atlantic appointed Adam& Eve/DDB to its creative account in August last year after a 20-year partnership with Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. Robert Fitch, the Chief Executive of MG OMD, said: “We have enjoyed a fantastic time working with Virgin Atlantic.”

Separately, Virgin Trains has confirmed it has extended its relationship with MG OMD to include the £5 million East Coast business, previously held by Havas Media, contrary to Campaign’s story last week. The win consolidates all of Virgin Trains’ media into MG OMD.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.