NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Delta Air Lines has selected Wieden & Kennedy as its new lead creative agency, according to industry executives. The independent shop beat out Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide for the business.
Both agencies referred calls to the marketer, which did not return calls as of press time.
Delta became the world's largest airline last October after the Justice Department approved its $3 billion acquisition of Northwest Airlines. The airline launched a branding campaign immediately following the decision.
Delta Air Lines spent $61 million on U.S. measured media between January and November last year, while spending for Northwest Airlines was only $10 million during the same time frame, according to TNS Media Intelligence. Other shops that took part earlier on in the review included the incumbent, Publicis Groupe's Digitas, with resources from sibling Saatchi & Saatchi; WPP's Ogilvy & Mather; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch.
The airline, like the rest of the industry, has felt the sting of the recession in 2009. Last month it reported a net loss of $794 million for the first quarter of the year. And in a memo sent to employees in March, Delta CEO Richard Anderson and President Edward Bastian announced that the declining global economy was forcing the airline to initiate another reduction in capacity. "In just the few months since we last announced capacity reductions, revenues have weakened, particularly in international markets. Once again, we must move quickly to adjust our capacity and stay in front of demand changes," the letter read. Beginning in September Delta will reduce its international capacity by an additional 10% in the trans-Atlantic and Pacific networks.
The struggling global airline business got more bad news this week when the swine-flu crisis began to spread. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) addressed the issue and the impact it could have on the industry in a statement earlier this week. "The global economic crisis continues to reduce demand for international air travel," Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO, said in the statement. "It is still too early to judge what the impact of Swine Flu will have on the bottom line. But it is sure that anything that shakes the confidence of passengers has a negative impact on the business. And the timing could not be worse given all of the other economic problems airlines are facing."
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Contributing: Rupal Parekh