PHD Lands Global Paid Search, UK Media Chores For Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic Airways has appointed PHD to handle its UK media account and its global paid search campaigns following a formal review. 

PHD will oversee the planning and buying across online and offline channels for the UK and paid search campaigns in the airline’s destination cities around the world.

Media spending on the assignment is estimated at $20 million. IDComms managed the pitch process. 

A bit of luck helped PHD land the account. The agency, part of Omnicom, and Havas Group’s Arena both made it to the final round and the client negotiated with both agencies and initially awarded the assignment to Arena earlier this month. 

However, a conflict at the holding company level at Havas forced Arena to bow out. The companies didn’t identify the conflicting account, but it is believed to be Air Emirates, which Havas Media won in 2013.

Reuben Arnold, the airlines’ SVP, marketing and customer experience, said PHD “demonstrated really strong strategic and connection planning capability” during the pitch. 



Earlier this year in the U.S., Virgin Atlantic selected Figliulo&Partners as its North American creative agency of record after a review. PHD sibling agency OMD handles U.S. media duties. The client also works with communications planning specialist Naked Communications here.

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