The agency captured the business after a review that began in October last year. M&C Saatchi, once British Airways’ agency of record, won a pitch that also involved Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Beattie McGuinness Bungay.
TBWA Worldwide was the previous incumbent and had held the account since 2005. The agency created Etihad’s recent TV campaign promoting its first-class suite and business-class flat bed, using the strapline: "From Abu Dhabi to the world."
M&C Saatchi will service the account from its London office as well as set up a new hub in Abu Dhabi.
The ad review follows investment by the airline in building its brand through sport tie-ups. Etihad, which was launched in 2003, signed last year as the main shirt sponsor of Manchester City Football Club in a ten-year, £400 million deal.
As part of the deal, the club’s ground was renamed the Etihad Stadium, with financial support given to a nearby sporting facility, to be named the Etihad Campus.