Optimedia Gets 'Clear'

Publicis Shop Snags Media Biz for Steve Brill Airport-Security Firm

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Clear, the Steven Brill-backed service known as the E-ZPass of air travel, has tapped Publicis Groupe's Optimedia U.S. to handle media-planning and -buying duties for its first marketing push.
Clear members use identity cards encrypted with their fingerprints or iris images to gain access to separate lines at security checkpoints in U.S. airports.
Clear members use identity cards encrypted with their fingerprints or iris images to gain access to separate lines at security checkpoints in U.S. airports.

Mr. Brill, the entrepreneur behind Court TV and Brill's Content magazines, said he chose Optimedia after observing its work on British Airways. "We liked how they were advising British Airways, and they seemed quickly to understand exactly what we were all about," Mr. Brill said.

Mr. Brill said Clear has chosen a creative agency for the marketing push, but would not disclose the shop's identity.

Privacy concerns
Members of Clear, which was started in 2005, use identity cards encrypted with their fingerprints or iris images to gain access to separate lines at security checkpoints in U.S. airports. The service, which reduces check-in times to a few minutes, costs $100 a year and is available only to people who have been prescreened and approved by the Transportation Security Administration -- and the last fact has raised concerns among privacy advocates.

Clear lanes are operational at Albany, N.Y.; Cincinnati; Indianapolis; Little Rock, Ark.; New York's JFK; Newark, N.J.; Orlando, Fla.; San Jose, Calif.; and Westchester County, N.Y., airports. Launches are set this month for New York's LaGuardia and in San Francisco.

Mr. Brill said he wanted to build a solid client base before he launched an ad effort. "I'm notoriously cheap and hesitant to pull the trigger on advertising unless we have something to sell. We needed to have some kind of critical mass at airports before it really made sense," he said.

'No-brainer'
Antony Young, CEO of Optimedia USA, said he is eager to work with Clear. "They are really tapping into a real kind of need and issue of what's been caused by [Sept. 11] and the real trauma that people have in airports. They have a really terrific, strong product. Our job is to get people to be aware of that and promote that," he said.

Optimedia is already a satisfied Clear client -- the company has about 250 Clear memberships for its five U.S. offices. "We bought a large number of memberships -- to us ... it's a no-brainer," he said.
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