British Airways Flys Media Biz Into Review

British-Airways-plane-ABritish Airways has put its global media planning and buying account into review.

The incumbent for most of those chores is Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia, which has handled the bulk of the airline’s traditional media duties since 1995. The agency subsequently added digital media duties in certain markets, including the U.S., in 2010. Outdoor media is assigned to WPP’s Kinetic.

In the U.S., where ZO’s Optimedia unit has handled the account, BA spent more than $21 million on ads in 2011, the last full year for which data is available according to Kantar. 

Global spending is estimated at approximately $75 million. In addition, the airlines committed approximately $65 million to be a major sponsor and official airlines of the 2012 Olympics in its home city of London.

Asked for comment, a BA rep issued this statement: “It is standard practice at British Airways to regularly review our suppliers to ensure we have the right level of support in place. If and when we have anything to say regarding our media-buying agency, a formal announcement will be made.”

For ZO, the British Airways review is the second time in recent months that a longtime client has decided to reassess its media assignment. In December, Nestle USA confirmed putting its account up for review, a process the company said it hoped to wrap up by the end of the first quarter 2013. Nestle’s spending on measured media in the U.S. is estimated at more than $600 million.

ZO declined to comment on the British Airways review.



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