United Awards $100 Million Media Duties to Starcom USA

Buying-and-Planning Incumbent Fallon Retains Creative

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- United Airlines has awarded its $100 million-plus global media-buying and -planning account to Starcom USA, which beat out Omnicom Group's OMD and WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia in a review.
United is the No. 2 airline in the nation behind American.
United is the No. 2 airline in the nation behind American.

The business had previously been with Starcom's Publicis Groupe sibling, Fallon, Minneapolis, which continues to handle the airline's creative advertising.

"We look forward to partnering with Starcom to help us elevate the overall effectiveness of our media campaigns," Dennis Cary, United's senior VP-marketing, said in a statement. "We are excited about the new efficiencies United will gain the wealth of expertise that Starcom delivers through its strategic planning process and innovative approach to buying and leveraging media."

Helps offset Macy's account loss
For Starcom, the win helps to offset its recent loss of Federated Stores' $200 million Macy's account, which it won just last year.

The assignment is said to have a hefty digital component.

United is the No. 2 airline in the nation behind American. It emerged from a three-year bankruptcy on Feb. 1, 2006, and, last month, paid down nearly $1 billion on its original $3 billion bankruptcy exit loans. It refinanced the rest.

United won an important piece of business in January when it beat out four other airlines for a key route from Washington to Beijing, China, continuing with the United's strategy of adding profitable international flights, particularly for business travelers.