The change, made less than three years after Martin won the business, followed a pitch against a small set of West Coast shops, according to executives familiar with the matter. Martin chose not to defend the account.
"We were looking for an agency that could help us bring the passion we have for travel to our customers, and we chose 180LA for their proven track record in developing compelling and share-worthy ideas that deliver results, something that was already evident in their pitch," Joe Megibow, Expedia.com's VP-general manager, said in a statement.
According to Kantar, Expedia Inc., which also owns Hotwire and Hotels.com, devoted $45 million in domestic measured media to market the Expedia.com brand in 2011.
Martin Agency won the account in the summer of 2009 and among other things produced campaigns featuring reality TV star Tim Gunn. The marketer, no doubt trying to forge ahead in an extremely competitive category, seems to want a new creative direction. 180 will launch an integrated marketing campaign later this year that is expected to use broadcast TV, digital and social media channels.
Martin could not be immediately reached for a comment. The move does not affect Expedia's media agency of record, TargetCast TCM, which will continue to handle media planning and buying.