Fleishman to lift Asian airline's presence

SAN FRANCISCO: Cathay Pacific Airways hopes to give its brand a lift by hiring Fleishman-Hillard as its first North American AOR.

SAN FRANCISCO: Cathay Pacific Airways hopes to give its brand a lift by hiring Fleishman-Hillard as its first North American AOR.

The Hong Kong-based airline selected Fleishman after a four-month search that initially included about a dozen firms. In the final round, Cathay also considered Hill & Knowlton and Ketchum.

Hugo Lai, Cathay's director of marketing communications for the Americas, said the airline needs strong PR to boost its share of North American international travel, but does not have the in-house expertise to do it.

"The media landscape is huge, so we felt we needed to hire an agency to help with our brand awareness," Lai said. He declined to disclose the account budget.

He said Cathay ultimately chose Fleishman for its knowledge of both the national media landscape and the airline industry.

Lai said he was also impressed with Fleishman's multicultural perspective.

"Even the team members represented the diversity that is important to us," said Lai. "They have good people who have worked in Asian regions. They understand our brand from a global standpoint."

Fleishman's main goal in 2006 will be to raise awareness of Cathay in North America.

"Outside of Hong Kong, North America is our biggest market," said Lai. "We're well established here, but we don't have the brand recognition we would like."

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