British Airways this week put an end to speculation that its pounds 60
million global account is to be reviewed out of M&C Saatchi by declaring
it was not talking to any other agencies.
The matter is to be resolved at a meeting, to take place shortly,
between the agency and senior BA executives led by Derek Dear, the
general manager for marketing communications, where M&C Saatchi’s work
over the last year will be assessed.
BA insists the meeting is not a review. ‘We’re very pleased with M&C
Saatchi’s work and we are not talking to any other agencies,’ a senior
BA executive said.
The BA source said the formal announcement to confirm that BA is to stay
with the agency will contain ‘no surprises’. This scuttles suggestions
that Bartle Bogle Hegarty is to secure some BA business, having come
close to winning the account at last year’s pitch.
However, speculation is growing that BA could be seeking a new home for
its Air Miles business, which has split with BST-BDDP following its
pounds 5 million Le Shuttle win (Campaign, 5 April).
BA is thought to be ready to develop its Air Miles account, which has
been dormant for the past six months.
However, Judith Robinson, the Air Miles marketing director, insisted
that there are no plans to reactivate the account, which BST has not
worked on since it completed a project in the middle of last year.
Robinson claimed that Air Miles, which spent pounds 800,000 in 1995,
mostly on business-to-business ads, was not looking for an agency. ‘Our
plans are in formulation,’ she commented.
BA’s indication that the main account will not move will cheer managers
at M&C Saatchi, who have been growing increasingly angry at what they
believe have been concerted attempts from within the industry to
destabilise the business.
The whispering campaign had reached a deafening intensity in the run-up
to the official expiry of BA’s contract with M&C Saatchi on 15 May.