United hands $100 million account to Fallon

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United Airlines tapped Publicis Groupe's Fallon Worldwide, Minneapolis, to handle its estimated $100 million-plus global account as the agency outdueled WPP Group's Y&R Advertising, New York, in a 45-day shootout for the consolidation, the airline said. The move, which was first reported on AdAge.com, comes as United is perhaps close to a merger with US Airways, meaning one of Fallon's challenges will be to introduce the "New United." Fallon has handled the world's largest airline's domestic business since 1996, while Y&R had the international account.

United declined to let outside agencies join in the shootout. At the time, airline spokesman Matt Triaca cited three reasons for the consolidation: the need for one agency to create a consistent voice and message worldwide; the opportunity to realize cost savings as the airline endured some financial problems after its difficult summer; and the ability "to create a foundation for a long-term partnership."

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Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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