Aer Lingus centralizes European ad account

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LONDON -- Aer Lingus, the state-owned Irish airline, has consolidated its advertising account across Europe for the first time in its 61 year history. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, London, has scooped the estimated $6m account for both creative and media, with independent Dublin-based Irish International appointed to the additional $6m business in Ireland.

AMV BBDO was able to pitch for the business following BBDO's loss of the $100m global account of U.S. Delta Air Lines to Saatchi & Saatchi last April.

Aer Lingus' decision to contract from nine different agencies in separate European markets to just two was driven by the need to "provide more efficient management" of advertising as well as to cut costs, says Suzanne Cross, corporate affairs executive with the airline.

The move follows a period of severe cost cutting and management restructuring at the Dublin-based airline, which flies between Ireland, Europe and the U.S. The European Commission granted it funding in 1995, conditional on the fact that it improved its profitability and competitiveness. "This marketing initiative is part of the whole process of making ourselves the customer's airline rather than the airline's airline," says Cross.

The new customer focus is also manifested in facilities being developed for Aer Lingus "commuters" - those traveling on U.K. and Irish provincial flights. Dedicated check-in areas have been created in Ireland and there are plans for special lounges and gates too. Four new Airbus A321 planes are also coming on stream for the London market.

First ads from AMV BBDO will appear at the end of this year, highlighting the friendliness of the Irish . Media is yet to be decided.

"Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has an excellent creative record, a European network and airline experience which we believe will greatly benefit Aer Lingus," says Richard Lucente, executive vice president - Europe.

An advantage of Aer Lingus for passengers flying from Europe to the U.S. is that U.S. immigration is cleared in Ireland, saving time at the end of the journey where queues are typically much longer.

Copyright August 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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