US Airways Group Inc. hopes it will soar to new heights after selecting Eisner Communications to handle its advertising and marketing account.
Baltimore-based Eisner received a letter of intent from the Arlington-based airline last week. Industry sources estimate the account is worth about $20 million.
Eisner has its work cut out for itself as it tries to breathe new life into an airline that’s coming off one of its toughest years.
UAL Corp.’s bid to buy US Airways for an estimated $12.3 billion fell through in July. Then US Airways, like other airlines, faced a declining number of passengers as air travel dropped dramatically after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Chief Executive Rakesh Gangwel quit in November and the company’s share price dropped 84 percent last year.
But despite leadership woes, US Airways is still a “fundamentally strong carrier,” says Mike Boyd, president of the Boyd Group, a Colorado-based airline consulting and research firm.
“[Eisner] has to project an image of an airline that really does have a strong future,” he says.
US Airways’ new marketing also has to focus on customer service, says Donald Kimball, airline analyst at Trippler & Associates.
“This agency needs to explain to the public that US Airways cares about their consumers,” Mr. Kimball says.
The sixth largest U.S. airline selected Eisner from a handful of agencies, including McCann-Erickson, the incumbent agency. McCann-Erickson, headquartered in New York, won the US Airways business 12 years ago and opened an office in the District to handle the account in 1996.
“It’s not good to lose a large account,” says Andrew Schacht, senior vice president and general manager at McCann-Erickson in Washington. “We’re just moving forward.”
This is the second Washington-based account Eisner has won in the past several months.
In October, Eisner was selected to handle the Washington D.C. Convention and Tourism Corp.’s new “Be Inspired” advertising campaign worth at least $2.5 million.
“The loss of US Airways from D.C.-based McCann-Erickson is a real blow for our Washington ad industry,” says Ron Owens, president of the Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington. “Another big fish is leaving our pond and going north.”
Calling all entries
It’s that time of year again.
The Advertising Club of Metropolitan Washington is looking for entries for its 2002 Addy Awards.
The deadline for all entries is Jan. 25. Agencies can submit work in more than 160 categories ranging from print, radio and television to direct marketing, interactive and self-promotion. Last year the Addy competition had nearly 1,300 entries.
Judging will take place Feb. 9 and 10. The judges include creative directors Kerry Feuerman from the Martin Agency in Richmond, Jim Mountjoy of Loeffler Ketchum Mountjoy in North Carolina and Chris Jacobs of Cole Henderson Drake in Atlanta, art director Paul Safsel of Young & Rubicam in New York and senior copywriter Ken Marcus from New York’s Brand Arch. Interactive entries will be judged by Kevin Flatt of Fallon in Minneapolis.
Winners will be announced at an April 6 ceremony at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The winners will then advance to the American Advertising Federation’s District competition where they will compete against winning entries from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware.
Those winners will then move on to the national level and compete against winning entries from around the country.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Advertising & Marketing runs every other week.