Networks line up as Lufthansa rethinks advertising brief

LONDON - Germany's national airline, Lufthansa, is reviewing its global advertising business, and is talking to two networks about the task.

The review comes after the airline's incumbent agency, McCann-Erickson, won the consolidated business for American Airlines from DDB in January this year. BMP DDB handled the £3m account in the UK.

It is unclear whether the pitch will be for Lufthansa's entire account, run out of McCann's Mech Berlin office, or whether the airline is seeking a network to help it launch a sub-brand such as a low-cost airline. The company has recently made sweeping cuts on its domestic fare prices, which have been seen as a move to fight back against its low-cost rivals such as Ryanair.

It is thought that Lufthansa is also seeking to build on its strong position in the global airline market. Recent estimates suggested it will eclipse British Airways to become the world's favourite airline, carrying 32m passengers a year compared with BA's 31m.

McCann-Erickson originally won Lufthansa's £20m global ad account in July 2000 in a pitch against Weiden & Kennedy in Amsterdam, with global media planning and buying being handled by MediaCom. The previous incumbents were Springer & Jacoby in London and Young & Rubicam in Frankfurt.

The most recent advertising activity from the airline in the UK was a poster campaign from Out There Consulting, to encourage gay and lesbian travellers to destinations such as Berlin and San Francisco. McCann-Erickson unveiled its biggest above-the-line campaign in five years in May 2001, as the airline sought to develop a friendlier image.

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