EasyJet, the low-cost airline, halted its pan-European advertising review last night as part of a wider re-evaluation of its strategy and restructure of its marketing operations.
The news will come as a major blow to Saatchi & Saatchi and Ogilvy & Mather, the final two agencies battling for the account. EasyJet called the pitch last summer in a move to consolidate its advertising into one agency (MW August 11, 2005).
The airline, which spent &£33m on advertising last year, is now planning to restart the pitch with a view to appointing a roster of “creative hot-houses” across a number of markets and a lead agency to develop a consistent look for the advertising.
EasyJet commercial director Saad Hammad, who joined the company in November half-way through the pitch, believes that the new strategy will allow the company to react more quickly to changes in local markets.
He has also completed a major restructure of the marketing team to devolve more responsibility to the airline’s regional operations. The move is intended to support its expansion across the Continent.
Hammad says that all of the agencies involved in the initial pitch would be welcome to reapply for the new contracts and adds that it is not looking at an in-house solution. “We want high-impact, low-cost, intrusive and distinctive marketing that delivers,” he says.
The pitch will be overseen by David Meliveo, marketing services manager, who was also responsible for the previous pitch.
OMD, which handles its media planning and buying, is not affected by the changes.