McCann to handle Air Canada/Canadian airlines business

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MONTREAL--Marketel/McCann-Erickson, Montreal, has emerged as thewinning advertising agency following Air Canada's recent takeover ofCanadian Airlines. The takeover will result in one major national airline under the Air Canada banner. McCann is Air Canada's longtime lead agency.

Gee Jeffery & Partners Advertising, Toronto, however, has lost a considerable amount of its estimated $20 million account for Canadian Airlines, forcing it to cut an unspecified number of staff. Canadian Airline VP Michael Beckerman said, however, that the agency has "a good track record and will still be involved in the strategic and planning side," at least until the end of the takeover process.

Other agencies clinging to Canadian Airlines business include Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, which handles its frequent-flyer program, and Hendrick & Associates Marketing Services, which handles Canadian Air Cargo, both of Calgary. Both agencies may lose the business once the merger moves ahead, as the companies are looking at a possible reciprocal arrangement between the two frequent-flyer plans. FCB Direct, which handles Air Canada's frequent-flyer plan, has been an award winner for its work and is in good place to retain the business.

Hendrick's future hold on the air cargo business will be clearer once Air Canada decides whether it plans to operate a cargo operation from Calgary, says Suzanne Bulmer, advertising coordinator for Canadian Air Cargo.

BCP Group, Montreal, has handled Canadian's French-language advertising, but the airline has done little in Quebec in the past year, concentrating on Ontario, Western Canada and overseas routes.

Separately, Mr. Beckerman has announced he is moving out of the flight business to become VP-International in Chicago for MVP.com, the sports e-commerce site launched by John Elway, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky, respectively former football, basketball and hockey superstars.

Copyright February 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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