Air New Zealand hires MWW as North American AOR

NEW YORK: Air New Zealand has selected MWW as its AOR for North America, following a competitive review. CRT/tanaka was the incumbent on the business.

NEW YORK: Air New Zealand has selected MWW as its AOR for North America, following a competitive review. CRT/tanaka was the incumbent on the business.

MWW won the account after a multi-agency pitch that began in May. The firm will work to raise awareness for the airline in the US and Canada, focusing on Air New Zealand's West Coast presence in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver, according to a statement from the company.

John Wilhelm, brand manager of Western markets for Air New Zealand, said the company selected MWW because the firm brought a “nice, fresh creative perspective” to the table and demonstrated enthusiasm and passion. He noted that MWW has a presence on both the West Coast and in Canada.

Wilhelm said five agencies competed in the RFP process, but declined to name the other firms. 

The agency's main responsibilities include promoting the airline's sponsorship of the second Hobbit film, overseeing the brand's international media program with tourism partners, and driving trade and travel media outreach.

MWW's Los Angeles office is leading account work, with support from other locations around the country.

MWW will begin work on the account at the beginning of next month, said JP Schuerman, EVP and GM of the firm's Western region. The agency expects to have a team of five or six staffers on the account, along with four experts who will help on an “as needed” basis for specific work, such as crisis communications, audience research and segmentation, and events, he added.

One of MWW's goals is to “advance Air New Zealand's larger business objectives,” which focus on expanding its image from a tourist destination airline to a competitive player in international travel, explained Schuerman. He added that the firm will also handle social media for the brand and help the airline reach Millennials, one of its core target demographics. 

In addition to targeting Millennials and young urban consumers and travelers, Wilhelm said MWW will help the airline reach older cultural travelers. He declined to disclose budget information on the contract, which runs for one year. 

Air New Zealand hired CRT/tanaka as AOR in 2007, replacing Cohn & Wolfe at that time. Representatives from CRT/tanaka were not immediately available for comment.

The airline operates about 500 flights a day in 52 cities across 16 countries, including 26 destinations in New Zealand. In North America, it offers daily, non-stop flights to New Zealand from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Vancouver, as well as from Los Angeles non-stop to the Cook Islands and London.

In June, Air New Zealand reported a 2% increase in the number of passengers for the month, compared with June 2012.

On Thursday, the airline was criticized by local pilots for its plan to hire foreign pilots due to a shortage of qualified ones in the company.

This story was updated on July 26 with comment from MWW and Air New Zealand.

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