Eleven shops pitch for Air New Zealand work

Air New Zealand has called a global review of its advertising and

media arrangements ahead of a £23 million international brand

campaign.



The airline has shortlisted 11 agencies to pitch for the business, with

the list understood to include both full-service networks and media

specialists. BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, Young & Rubicam and Lowe Lintas

are all included in the review.



The New Zealand agency Colenso/Clemenger BBDO currently holds the

account.



However, demands by Air New Zealand's chief executive officer, Gary

Toomey, for a new global image have opened the door to foreign

networks.



Travel Exchange Asia, an online travel portal in which Air New Zealand

has a stake, appointed Lowe Lintas to its account in April this

year.



The global advertising drive will include campaigns in London and other

key European cities, with UK spend estimated to be around £3

million. The account has been dormant in the UK since the airline ran a

1997 poster campaign highlighting the comfort of its economy class seats

under the headline, "smartarse". The company has since run TV ads across

the digital network Music Choice Europe.



The renewed focus on international branding is part of a twin campaign

strategy for Air New Zealand.



The push will aim to raise the airline's profile in unfamiliar markets

while rehabilitating its image at home following a series of PR

disasters. The Air New Zealand fleet was grounded earlier this year

because of financial problems.



The ownership structure of the airline is unclear at the moment, with

Singapore Airlines awaiting government approval of a bid to raise its

stake in the company.



The international pitch is being run from Melbourne, fuelling New

Zealand concerns that one of the country's largest advertisers could be

moving its account out of the country.