BAA stages pitch for retail consumer brief

Quoted airports operator BAA is staging a pitch for its retail consumer PR business.

Two PR agencies - Kavanagh Communications and Pirate Communications - currently handle BAA's retail work and both are repitching for the business.

Kavanagh has handled a range of promotional and media relations work for the past eight years.

The agency has targeted nationals and the trade press, in addition to men's and women's lifestyle magazines, focusing on fashion, shopping and travel editors.

The Surrey-based agency has also handled reader competitions and holiday offers, such as this summer's promotional push involving Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

Pirate has handled PR for BAA's website - BAA.com - for the past 18 months.

The firm has targeted the national, regional and trade press in a bid to boost site usage.

The website's facilities - such as car-park booking, travel insurance, money exchange and shopping - are mainly used by business travelers.

For the past year, Pirate has also been working for BAA division media@BAA to promote airports' advertising space.

One or more agencies will be appointed following a pitch, which has been called to comply with EU procurement law.

BAA is subject to the EU utility directive and is required by law to re-pitch work carried out by external companies.

BAA was privatised in 1987 and then had relatively small retail interests.

In 1994 it made £6m profits from UK retail but by 2001 this figure had grown to £479m.

BAA runs seven UK airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Southampton, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

It also has retail interests at six Australian airports and three airports in the US.

BAA director of retail marketing, UK airports, Andy Davies is in charge of the pitch, which is understood to have reached shortlist stage.

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