BrightHouse Picks up Assignment; Kirshenbaum to Handle Low-Fare Song

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NEW YORK ( -- Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines has pulled its $33 million creative account from Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, the carrier said today.

Part of the account is moving in-house, while BrightHouse, an Atlanta consultancy also specializing in strategic and creative work, picks up another portion of the business.

Bill Miller, chief operating officer

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of BrightHouse, told his agency has been working with Delta since August 2002.

"This was a natural transition," Mr. Miller said from his Atlanta office. Asked what BrightHouse was currently working on for Delta, Mr. Miller called it a "master idea" for the airline and said it would eventually evolve into a new branding campaign.

New agency for Song
Executives familiar with the situation also told that some project work for Song, Delta's low-cost carrier that launched last month, is expected to be given to Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York. Media buying and planning for Song is also expected to go to Kirshenbaum's Media Kitchen. Lime PR & Promotions, the agency's public relations unit, is expected to handle promotional and partnership marketing responsibilities.

Kirshenbaum referred calls to the client. Delta declined comment on that aspect of the account.

Delta's media buying will continue to be handled by Starcom Worldwide, part of Publicis.

Burnett's last campaign
Burnett's last campaign for Delta was launched earlier this year. The work touts the ability of the airline's customers to avoid airport check-in lines by pre-printing their own boarding passes. The account had been at Burnett for the past three years. It was at Publicis' Saatchi & Saatchi for three years prior to that, and at Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide for 40 years, until 1997.

Delta recently spent a reported $75 million to launch Song, its entry into the low-cost air carrier wars to compete with the likes of JetBlue and Virgin Atlantic Airways. Song made its debut flight April 15, and has done virtually no advertising other than billboards and radio. Most communications have been handled in-house, or have been public relations initiatives from Dan Klores Communciations, New York.

Ad spending
Delta spent $33.5 million in measured media in 2002 and $29.5 million in 2001, according TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The airline spent $3.3 million in the first two months of this year.