Ten agencies have been earmarked to present credentials to the airports
owner and operator, BAA, following its decision to put the authority’s
pounds 3 million retail account up for review.
BAA would not disclose details of the ten agencies, except to confirm
that the list included its incumbents of nine years, Bates Dorland and
Zenith Media. The list will be whittled down to a shortlist of four
agencies by the end of the month. Each of these will be asked to make
creative, strategic and media presentations before BAA’s marketing
director, Claire Hewitt, as well as its advertising manager, John
Landon, and two other executives. A decision is expected by the end of
Elaine Booth, BAA’s consumer communications manager, explained a
statutory review had been invoked after nine years for a number of
reasons, none to do with Dorlands’ performance. It was policy to review
accounts with all BAA’s business partners, she said, and the BAA was
obliged to look outside in order to comply with European Union
Revenue from the tax- and duty-free shops at UK airports increased by
88.5 per cent in the last financial year, bringing pounds 177 million
into the BAA’s coffers.
BAA has an upmarket customer profile. Around 90 per cent of Heathrow
customers fall into the ABC1 socio-economic group, according to Booth.
She said 50 per cent of BAA’s customers were in the A or B demographic.
However, a cloud hangs over the sector’s future in the light of plans by
the EU to scrap duty- and tax-free shopping within its boundaries by
1999. Passengers from EU countries bring in roughly half of BAA’s duty-
free revenues at the moment.
Graham Hinton, the chairman of Dorlands, confirmed the review and said
that the agency would hotly contest the account.