BBDO quits Delta review; raps biased review process

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BBDO Worldwide withdrew from Delta Air Lines' $100 million account review, saying it believed it wasn't being given a fair chance to compete. "It had become apparent that we were not being considered objectively or with an open mind," said Phil Dusenberry, chairman, BDDO, New York. BBDO has been Delta's agency for the past 51 years.

Advertising Age on March 3 reported Ogilvy & Mather, New York, is the favorite to win Delta, in part because of Delta director Ed Artzt's close ties to executives at O&M.

Allen Rosenshine, BBDO Worldwide chairman-CEO, today said, "Mr. Artzt had nothing to do with BBDO's decision. We just wanted to believe the assurances we've been given all along that there was no negative bias toward BBDO and that brilliant advertising supporting Delta's brand positioning and business development strategy would be the most important criteria in the agency selection. We withdrew because we are now convinced that neither is the case."

BBDO said Delta marketing executives imposed new review rules last Friday barring agencies from presenting any TV or sound track materials in pitches scheduled for tomorrow and next Tuesday. "To us, this clearly minimizes the importance of creative work," which is BBDO's strength, Mr. Dusenberry said.

Robert W. Coggin, executive VP-marketing of Delta said in a statement: "Delta Air Lines regrets the decision by BBDO to withdraw from our advertising review. We respect their work immensely and appreciate the support they have given Delta for more than 50 years.

"We must be very clear, however. The review process has been totally and scrupulously professional and unbiased, and has involved people from the highest levels of the company. All participants have been given the same rules and the same opportunity to present their best ideas."

Other agencies pitching for the account are Ammirati Puris Lintas and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, both New York. A decision is expected during the week of March 17.

Copyright March 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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