Southwest Airlines Selects Spark Foundry as Media Agency

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Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines Credit: Matt York

Southwest Airlines has selected Spark Foundry as its new media agency following a competitive review. The airline had previously worked with Dallas-based Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media for three decades.

Spark Foundry will be responsible for media planning and buying, investment, data and analytics, measurement, performance and content marketing for the airline. Ad Age reported in July that Southwest sought a new media agency to adapt in an "ever-changing media landscape."

Southwest VP and CMO Ryan Green said, like his own company, the Publicis Media-owned agency believes in a strong company culture, creative thinking and one-on-one service to its customers.

"We believe Spark Foundry will take Southwest to the next level of digital practices at the best cost," Green said in a statement.

Camelot said in July it had resigned the business and decided not to participate in the review, according to Tom Kalahar, the agency's CEO. "Sometimes it's just time to move on," he said in an emailed statement at the time. "Camelot's nearly three decades long partnership has lasted through some of Southwest's greatest challenges and successes. We feel like we are part of the Southwest family but will just not be in the family business any longer."

Southwest Airlines spent $203 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media. The airline worked with Select Resources International to conduct the search. Southwest has worked with Austin-based GSD&M for creative for decades.

Southwest managed to shine this year in a tough time for airlines, reputation-wise: It ranked highest among low-cost carriers in this year's North America Airline Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power. But it has still suffered its share of stumbles — after technical difficulties resulted in cancelled flights last summer and again in May when a same-sex couple said they were unable to board early with their children since they were allegedly told they were not considered to be a "family."

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