British Airways commercial director Martin George says that the appointment of Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) to handle the airline’s &£60m global advertising business is “money well spent”.
In an exclusive interview with Marketing Week, George says the agency had developed an excellent grasp of the airline’s business during the review process he oversaw. George adds that BBH had thought across the “whole range of business communications” and that it was able to “get under the skin of our strategy”.
Tuesday’s announcement that M&C Saatchi had lost the business brings the airline’s 23-year relationship with the Saatchi brothers to an end. DDB Worldwide and JWT were the other unsuccessful shortlisted agencies. BBH takes over the account on a five-year contract from November 15, and its first work is expected in the UK at Christmas, says George. The agency will work with Leo Burnett in overseas markets.
George revealed that the airline spoke to existing clients of BBH, including Audi and Diageo, during the pitch and that their testimony had helped convince the airline to make the appointment. “BBH showed that it can produce work for big brands, do tactical advertising and can work at all levels,” he says.
George also says that the arrival of new chairman Willie Walsh will not change the company’s emphasis on marketing. “Marketing and advertising remain critical for us,” he adds.