Air New Zealand to consolidate global account

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AUCKLAND -- Air New Zealand is reviewing its $40 million international account this week. AirNZ wants to consolidate the bulk of its global advertising with one of its two major local agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide and Colenso, a subsidiary of Clemenger BBDO Australia. AirNZ is seeking a global image in time to capitalize on the America's Cup yachting contests that are held every four years and that begin in Auckland during the DownUnder summer of 1999. The final races will beheld during March 2000 -- six months ahead of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

The airline is co-owner, with Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd, of Ansett Airlines of Australia, which is a major sponsor of the Olympic Games. Ansett heads a consortium of airlines involved in the sponsorship, including United Airlines, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.

"This is not a full-blown review," says Paul Abbot, AirNZ marketing manager. "We have been with Saatchi since late 1993 and Colenso since mid-1994. Saatchi tends to do the brand work. Colenso does the travel center advertising along with major tactical initiatives." About a dozen different agencies associated with the rostered agencies work on the account worldwide. A decision is expected by the end of this month.

American comedian Jerry Seinfeld is being considered as a possible new face for AirNZ. Seinfeld is widely rumored to be a key part of Saatchi's pitch, but Geoff Vuleta, managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, Auckland, denies his agency's campaign is centered on the comedian. The Colenso approach is believed to focus on New Zealand imagery. The agency's managing director Neil Livingstone, was unavailable for comment.

Seinfeld has previously been used in Australia and New Zealand by Ogilvy & Mather to promote American Express during his weekly TV show on Channel Ten. M&C Saatchi, Sydney, recently used Michael Richards (Kramer) for a campaign for Vodafone, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine) has also appeared in internationally-produced ads for Clairol hair products and Smith's Lite potato chips.

Copyright February 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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