M&C Saatchi is planning a strategic partnership with a US agency to
handle the dollars 60 million-plus account being created by the planned
global alliance between its British Airways client and three other major
By aligning their agency with the Texas-based shop, Temerlin McClain
(the main roster agency of the alliance’s other principal player,
American Airlines), M&C chiefs appear to have trumped earlier plans for
a pitch, likely to have involved the two shops competing with each other
as well as DDB, which handles the international account of American
Airlines, the second largest carrier in the US.
Senior executives of the Bozell-owned Temerlin McClain were believed to
be in London this week for talks with M&C, and representatives of the
alliance, which also includes Australia’s Qantas (another M&C client)
and Canadian Airlines.
If the alliance goes ahead - it still needs the approval of the UK and
US governments - the agencies could combine to produce a worldwide
multi-media campaign in the spring.
Its task would be to convince sceptical travellers of the benefits of
the alliance, which has been criticised for possibly enabling the
partner airlines to cut both costs and jobs and raise fares by squeezing
their competitors out of business.
Airlines have long been co-ordinating schedules to move passengers and
baggage efficiently. But the new alliance goes a significant step
further, allowing American Airlines to offset a sluggish domestic market
and BA to derive greater benefit from transatlantic flights rather than
short-haul ones where profit margins are much lower.
M&C’s impending link with Temerlin McClain follows six months of talks
between the US shop and Bill Muirhead, one of the M&C founding
Temerlin McClain is the largest agency in the American South West with
clients such as the J. Penney retail chain. It is set to become part of
the True North group when True North completes its dollars 440 million
acquisition of Bozell.