Travelocity Launches Review for $80M Account

Incumbent McKinney Declines to Defend

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Travelocity and its lead creative agency of seven years, McKinney, are parting ways due to a wide-ranging review the online travel site has launched on its more than $80 million advertising account.

In addition to creative duties -- which McKinney, the creator of Travelocity's iconic roaming-gnome character, landed in 2003 -- media duties are also under review, the marketer told Ad Age. Its media agency is Omnicom Group's OMD.

"Like all smart brand marketers, we are continually reviewing all aspects of our marketing business to create a great experience for travelers," Joel Frey, Travelocity spokesman, said in an e-mail. "It's been seven years since our last review, and we feel that the time is right to undergo this process." Mr. Frey added that the review is "moving quickly" but declined to provide a date by which it expected to hire a new creative shop and possibly others.

For its part, McKinney declined the opportunity to defend its portion of the account. Brad Brinegar, CEO of the agency, told Ad Age: "We believe our track record and passion and commitment for the business speak for itself. ... They will have a hard time finding a replacement. We feel we've been central to their success over the past seven years."

Asked how the loss of a major account will affect the Durham, N.C.-based shop, Mr. Brinegar said it would not spur any layoffs:"There will be no implications for staff."

OMD could not be immediately reached for comment.

Travelocity spent $81 million on domestic measured media last year, according to Kantar Media.

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