British Airways has selected six agencies to present credentials
for its pan-European PR account, which will be led from London and is
expected to run into a seven-figure fee.
The agencies picked for the corporate and consumer brief include:
Burson-Marsteller, Shandwick, GCI, Rowland PR Worldwide and Hill and
BA expects to shortlist three of these to pitch.
BA’s UK and Ireland PR is not up for repitch. BA uses Brunswick in the
UK. Its key European markets are France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the
Nordic region and Belgium.
BA’s European review is the first stage of a worldwide agency review
initiated by the airline’s newly appointed international communications
head, Louise Tingstrom (PR Week, 20 November 1998). Once a European
agency is appointed, Tingstrom expects to go through the same process in
BA’s other regions: the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and
The selected agencies will replace the airline’s current patchwork of
about 63 agencies worldwide. These include K2C Relations Publiques in
France and Jerry Bergstrom in Sweden. BA’s German PR is currently
Tingstrom said: ’The agency really needs to have a focus on marketing
communications. The aim is to help the local sales, marketing and PR
teams reach their objectives as well quite as a chunky corporate brief.’
Explaining BA’s decision to shortlist agencies with global networks, she
added: I believe that, with a network of wholly-owned or specially
picked agencies you can achieve greater benefits.’
Earlier this month, British Airways announced disappointing third
quarter results, with a pounds 75 million loss, compared to the pounds
80 million profits registered for the same period last year.
BA is a member of the Oneworld alliance, whose other members include
Finnair, Iberia, American Airlines, Qantas and Cathay Pacific.
The airline announced a review of its worldwide PR agencies at the end
of 1997 under then communications director Kevin Murray. These plans
were put on hold when Murray quit BA, to be replaced by current PR chief
Simon Walker, last April.