DELTA ISSUES REQUEST TO SEARCH CONSULTANTS

Move Could Be Precursor to Agency Review

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Delta Air Lines, preparing an evaluation of its marketing business, has quietly issued a request for information to a number of ad industry search consultants, according to executives familiar with the situation.

The Atlanta-based airline, which has a

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new CEO, Gerald Grinstein, who joined in January, is seeking to evaluate industry best practices and to identify cost savings, often a precursor to a review.

Agency roster
The RFI did not, however, raise the prospect of agency changes. The airline's roster of agencies includes independent BrightHouse, Atlanta, responsible for global marketing communications; Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' ModemMedia. Delta's low-cost carrier, Song, works with Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners for creative and Media Kitchen for media, both part of MDC Partners.

The evaluation is believed to include all parts of Delta's business. The airline spent $21.6 million last year.

The airline has had a number of creative partners in the last few years. In June the account moved out of Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, to an in-house team with BrightHouse later picking up projects. Delta was with Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide for 40 years until 1997, when it moved the account to Publicis's Saatchi & Saatchi.

The airline has said it is planning to refurbish cabin interiors and spend more than $300 million to upgrade terminals at New York's Kennedy International Airport.

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