Fallon and Y&R split $100M United account

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United Airlines is expected to announce later today that Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and Young & Rubicam, New York and Chicago, will split its $100 million ad account. Leo Burnett Co., Chicago, has held the account for the past 31 years.

Fallon will have the $70 million domestic portion of the account, while Y&R will handle international. How closely the two agencies will be asked to work together isn't clear. United rival American Airlines splits its account in the same way, with midsize Temerlin McClain, Dallas, handling its U.S. account and bigger DDB Needham Worldwide, New York, handling international.

The selection leaves finalist TBWA Chiat/Day, New York, empty-handed. That agency had appeared to be the lead contender when it alone was asked back for a follow-up meeting with United on Monday.

The selection also leaves Burnett without one of its key clients. United surprised the industry with its review; the agency's work has been well-regarded in the ad community and the agency-client relationship has been one of advertising's strongest. But just before the review began, John Ruhaak, United's longtime VP-marketing and promotion and a former Burnett executive, resigned. Marketing Director Mike Howe, a former president of Y&R in Detroit, was one of the executives running the review.

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