TBWA nets $90m Etihad

Omnicom stablemate OMD is set to pick up the global media brief for the airline.

Omnicom's TBWA network has netted the global account for the United Arab Emirates' new national airline, Etihad, estimated to be worth $90 million.

The win sees TBWA pick up the airline's direct marketing and PR as well as its above-the-line communications. Media will also be aligned within Omnicom and is expected to be handed to the holding company's main media network, OMD.

The pitch, which also involved Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis and JWT, was run from Etihad's headquarters in Abu Dhabi, where TBWA is now looking to set up shop. However, the account will be led from TBWA's London office.

Ian Ferguson-Brown, the marketing director of Etihad, led the pitch.

He denied that a final decision had been made and said the airline was still talking to four agencies.

Andrew McGuinness, the TBWA\London chief executive, returned from Abu Dhabi on 13 April but refused to comment.

The airline officially launched in November 2003 to challenge airlines that fly into Dubai. Its arrival in the UK was announced in April last year with the creation of a route from London to Abu Dhabi. The target market is primarily business travellers.

The airline's advertising is likely to communicate Etihad's positioning of a high standard of customer service.

Last April, Media Planning Group scooped Etihad's £11 million UK media account. However, MPG was not involved in the recent review.

Etihad operates 17 routes. It aims to service 70 destinations by 2010.

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