M&C in deal with US shop for BA-AA

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 carriers.

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

carriers.



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

partners.



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.



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