DELTA AD SPENDING PLUMMETED;CUT REDUCTION SCHEME TO SLICE $400 MILLION OVER 3-YR. PERIOD

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Delta Air Lines' cost-cutting plan is weighing heavily on the carrier's marketing budget.

Delta's ad and promotional budgets have been losing altitude and w ill continue to fall in the next fiscal year, starting July 1.

The carrier's nearly 2-year-old Leadership 7.5 plan-which refers to a goal of 7.5 (cents) per airplane seat for each mile of flight vs. the 8.4 (cents) now-has already eaten into the airline's overall ad budget.

SPENDING DOWN 32%

Measured media spending dropped 32% to $50.17 million for January through October 1995, vs. the year-earlier period, according to Competitive Media Reporting. Delta spent a total of $94.78 million in media support for 1994.

The carrier said it intends to cut $400 million from its marketing budget from 1994 through June '97.

"What this has meant to Delta's advertising is that we have become much more strategic in reaching frequent business travelers, particularly by focusing our ad promotion activities in competitive markets," said Paul Matsen, VP-advertising and marketing. He wouldn't comment on specifics of the upcoming budget.

At Delta agency BBDO Worldwide, Atlanta, Senior VP-Account Director Jeff Upshaw said: "Delta has always been very open, and we're not expecting any surprises."

SPONSORSHIPS CUT

The airline has also been cutting back on sponsorships, most notably Walt Disney Co. as of Jan. 1, though Delta will still be a sponsor of Walt Disney World's 25th anniversary this year and continue a relationship on a case-by-case basis. Delta also ended a longtime sponsorship of the National Football League.

The airline's plan to launch a no-frills discount operation to compete with ValuJet, Southwest Airlines and others is still in the works. It hinges on landing an agreement with its pilot union.

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