British Airways calls global media review

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BA: the airline invested heavily last year in marketing surrounding London 2012
BA: the airline invested heavily last year in marketing surrounding London 2012

British Airways is reviewing its global media planning and buying account, currently held by ZenithOptimedia.

It is understood that BA is holding chemistry meetings with agencies but that no formal brief has yet been issued.

ZenithOptimedia, which has worked with BA on its global media since 1995, added the UK online planning and buying to its offline relationship in 2009. The airline’s UK outdoor buying is handled by WPP’s Kinetic.

BA’s UK billings for the year ended September 2012 were £28 million, according to Nielsen, and the airline spent close to £10 million activating its sponsorship of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

As part of BA’s London 2012 work, Bartle Bogle Hegarty created a spot, "home advantage", that showed a plane cruising along the capital’s streets before arriving at the Olympics site in Stratford to drop off its passengers.

Recent marketing activity from BA has included giving away tickets every 15 minutes at London’s Victoria station in what the brand called its "biggest-ever ticket giveaway from Gatwick Airport".

The pitch does not affect BA’s relationship with BBH, which has handled its advertising since 2005, and OgilvyOne, the airline’s lead digital agency.

It is thought that Kinetic will be involved in the process to defend its direct relationship and also as an outdoor partner to Group M agencies.

A spokesman for BA said: "It is standard practice at British Airways to regularly review suppliers to ensure we have the right level of support in place. If and when we have anything to say regarding our media buying agency, a formal announcement will be made."

A spokesman for ZenithOptimedia declined to comment.

BA is part of International Airlines Group and its marketing is led by Frank van der Post, the airline’s managing director, brand and customer experience.

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