Initiative beats three to grab Air Miles

Air Miles has appointed Initiative Media to handle its £5 million media planning and buying account.

Initiative triumphed in a contest against Optimedia, Manning Gottlieb OMD and Naked Communications. Air Miles had called a pitch after Starcom Motive, its media agency, won the account for the rival loyalty programme Nectar.

Air Miles spent £5 million on advertising last year but it is expected to increase its activity to compete with Nectar, which was launched by Air Miles' founder, Keith Mills, earlier this year. Nectar's partners include Sainsbury's, BP and Barclaycard, while Air Miles recently signed a deal with Tesco to form a partnership that allows shoppers to convert Tesco Clubcard points into Air Miles.

In addition to media buying, Initiative is expected to work with Air Miles and its ad agency, TBWA/London, on how to work with partners in the loyalty scheme.

The Air Miles pitch was run by its director of partnerships and marketing, Charles D'Oyly. Future campaigns are likely to build awareness of Air Miles' package holiday rewards.

Air Miles, which is owned by British Airways, has other partners, who include O2, Lloyds TSB, Avis Europe and Kellogg.

Earlier this year, IMP London, now Arc London, was hired by Tesco and Air Miles to help promote the tie-up to consumers.

Nectar is expected to launch with a £10 million advertising campaign in autumn. WCRS was appointed to its creative account and WWAV Rapp Collins to direct marketing.

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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).