Southwest Airlines Begins Media Review After Three Decades With One Agency

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Credit: Matt York

Southwest Airlines is conducting a media agency review after working with Dallas-based Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media for more than 30 years.

"As our business grows and adapts to an ever-changing media landscape, Southwest Airlines is exploring options in the marketplace to ensure we have the right paid media capabilities in place at the right costs," a spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

Camelot 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," said Kalahar in a statement provided via email. "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 said it is working with Select Resources International to conduct the search. The company plans to make a selection by late September.

It's been a tough year for airlines, with a massive outcry against United Airlines after a passenger was dragged off a flight in April and a slew of other stumbles at other companies. Southwest Airlines suffered its share of criticism 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."

Still, Southwest ranked highest among low-cost carriers in this year's North America Airline Satisfaction Study from J.D. Power.

Southwest Airlines spent $203 million in measured media in the U.S. in 2016, according to Kantar Media. The airline has worked with its creative agency of record, Austin-based GSD&M, for decades.

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