Leo Burnett has scooped the $13m (&£8m) Scandinavian Airline System global advertising account after a six-way pitch.
Burnett’s Stockholm office pitched against Hall & Cederquist Young & Rubicam, Ronnberg McCann, Paradiset DDB, Bates and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles – all Stockholm based – for the account.
SAS, which is part of the Star Alliance, a five-strong group of flag-carrying airlines, had been with Observera Grey for five years. The initial contract with Burnett will last for three years.
The Star Alliance is the first fully-fledged airline alliance to make an impact on the global stage.
Progress on the British Airways-led global alliance, called oneworld, has been held up by the competition authorities. BA had hoped to gain economies of scale through sharing functions with its member airlines, but co-operation is limited to through-ticketing.
The airline industry in Europe is facing upheaval. Deregulation will increase competition and margins on the flag carriers are being squeezed by budget airlines such as easyJet, Go and Ryanair.
SAS is 50 per cent owned by the governments of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. It has an 80 per cent share of local traffic and 72 per cent of international traffic in the Nordic region.