British Airways prepares for direct roster pitch

LONDON - British Airways' direct marketing agencies are on alert as the airline has started to prepare for a review of its direct roster.

BA's procurement department is leading the process, which is in the early stages.

According to sources, the airline has already met with at least one agency and has signalled to others that a review will begin later this year. The pitch is due to take place in the first quarter of 2007.

Tullo Marshall Warren has handled the lion's share of the DM account for 19 years. Lida, which was appointed in 2004, works on its holiday business. In the past, BA has had up to six roster agencies, including Joshua and Claydon Heeley Jones Mason.

ISBA, which was involved in the above-the-line review last year, is expected to play a role in the DM pitch.

A BA spokeswoman said: "There are no current plans to change our direct marketing agency. We're not looking and we have no plans to."

Last year, BA reviewed its £60m ad account after 23 years with M&C Saatchi. Bartle Bogle Hegarty won it.

The review was part of an ongoing cost-cutting drive instigated by Willie Walsh, the new BA chief executive. Walsh took over from Rod Eddington last summer.

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