Starcom Mediavest Group (SMG) has been named Global Media Agency for Etihad Airways Partner (EAP) airlines Etihad Airways, Alitalia, Air Berlin and Jet Airways.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline said it selected SMG because of its "superior knowledge and skill base within one agency to service all partners with market and industry insights and to provide access to leading edge global thinking and proprietary technology with consistency across all partners."
Starcom will service the EAP airlines in key hubs in the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Italy and India, with central coordination from their EMEA head office in London.
SMG landed the account after a formal review to consolidate the account and several agency networks were invited to pitch, including Etihad Airways’ incumbent agency Mediacom, OMD (incumbent on Air Berlin) and Universal Media. The incumbent agency on Jet Airways was Vizeum and Alitalia was Mindshare.
EAP expects this appointment will save it money through SMG's ability to deliver scaled benefits by aligning media spending power across key markets and to provide added value and centralized strategic advice and planning to meet the unique commercial needs of the airline grouping.
SMG has a lot of work ahead, as EAP has recently been on a mission to raise its international profile. Last month, for instance, EAP introduced a social media competition to connect family members during Ramadan. In May, Etihad teamed up with Brand USA, a destination marketing organization for the United States, to encourage tourism to the USA from points across its extensive global network as well as launched a premium Twitter channel. EAP also promoted Universal Pictures' Fast & Furious franchise with the Fast & Furious 777 branded plane.
“Starcom demonstrated that they fully understand the emerging media scene which has digital media at its core," says Shane O’Hare, Etihad Airways’ Senior Vice President Marketing. "Their highly experienced team, resources, planning tools and buying clout in all the key EAP markets gave them a clear edge in the tender."
Etihad Airways began operations in 2003, and in 2014 carried 14.8 million passengers. From its Abu Dhabi base, Etihad Airways flies to 111 existing or announced passenger and cargo destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas.
“We are the foremost innovators in the precision media space and very much welcome this exciting challenge of working with the Etihad Airways Partner airlines across all their communications platforms," says Matt Blackborn, president, investment and diversification at Starcom Mediavest Group. “This is a unique client brief and relationship as it brings together multiple brands from the same industry and is ground-breaking in the agency world."