Airtours, the UK’s second largest holiday company, is understood to have awarded its 9m advertising account to Lowe Howard-Spink.
The agency fought off competition from Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe, EURO RSCG Wnek Gosper, and the company’s Manchester incumbent, Advertising Principles.
Airtours’ marketing department, led by senior advertising manager Matthew Forster, will travel to London today to discuss terms with Lowe Howard-Spink.
It is thought that Airtours wants to upgrade its image. Traditionally, the company has been viewed as a discount retailer, rather than a premium operator. This is not a problem which affects its rival, Thomson Holidays.
Lowe Howard-Spink’s chief executive Tim Lindsay says: “We are still in negotiations with the client.”
Advertising Principles won Airtours’ creative account in June 1996 and the media planning and buying account six months later. Its first work for the company in September 1996 ended with the tagline: “Whatever makes your holiday, we make it happen.”
Airtours says media buying will remain with Media Principles, a division of Advertising Principles.
Last month Airtours bought telephone sales holiday outfit Direct Holidays for 81m. The acquisition is the company’s first entry into the growing telephone sales market.