British Airways is talking to agencies about the pounds 6 million advertising account to launch its new lifestyle internet portal aimed at BA club card holders.
Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Soul and Ogilvy & Mather are understood to have been invited to pitch alongside BA's existing agencies, M&C Saatchi and TBWA/London.
However, HHCL & Partners, which handles above-the-line work for BA's low-cost airline Go and for the London Eye, has not been asked to pitch for the business.
M&C holds BA's main above-the-line account, and is behind the '21st century air travel' TV campaign. TBWA handles Airmiles and OgilvyOne handles below-the-line work for Go.
BA is believed to be seeking an integrated approach with an above-the-line media spend of approximately pounds 3 million. A further pounds 3 million is going behind online and below-the-line advertising.
The agencies will pitch over the next two weeks and the company is understood not to be seeking a media agency for the launch.
The BA media account is centralised at Optimedia.
The site, which will not carry BA branding, will let customers earn BA miles, which are replacing Airmiles.
The portal is still in development but is believed to be taking the form of an online lifestyle magazine, providing visitors with information about travel, leisure and fashion.The launch is part of a bid by the airline to make BA Miles a leading e-currency.
The portal is part of BA's pounds 100 million eVentures initiative, which was announced by the company in February this year. Plans include an online travel agency offering customers a one-stop shop for flights, hotels and car hire.
EVentures is one of four key elements of BA's internet strategy. The second, eCommerce, will see core sales, marketing and customer services activities shifted online.
The two other areas are eProcurement, which will concentrate on internet-based buying techniques, while eWorking will improve the BA intranet.
The airline was one of the first big traditional advertisers to embrace the internet in terms of online ads. It has worked with the new-media shop agency.com since 1995 and is one of the UK's biggest online advertisers.
The online expansion drive comes on the back of the company's poor results in May, when it announced pre-tax losses of pounds 244 million.
A spokeswoman for BA confirmed the pitch but would not confirm the agencies on the shortlist.