Networks battle for world brief

Agency networks WPP, Omnicom and Publicis are involved in a pitch for the entire marketing services remit of Etihad Airways, believed to be worth more than £100m in billings.

Bosses at the networks are thought to be personally involved in the global pitch, including WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell, whose presence was key in winning the high-profile HSBC account last year.

Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and based in Abu Dhabi, is not such a high-profile client as yet, but is massively expanding its marketing services operation.

The airline bought 24 aeroplanes last July, including four of the headline-hitting A380s – Airbus' huge new double-decker aircraft.

Like the HSBC brief, the pitch involves the whole spectrum of marketing services, from creative and media advertising to PR.

One agency boss involved in this latest pitch said: "Massive global pitches like this are very much the future and we are seeing people right at the very top of the networks getting involved in a bid to win this sort of business."

Another agency head said: "Someone like Sorrell is obviously a valuable new business weapon."

Pitches and the lengthy procurement process for the Etihad account started back in December and an announcement of the winner is said to be imminent.

A spokesman for the airline said: "The decision on our advertising partners will be announced in the very near future. We are at the tendering stage at the moment."

WPP will be many people's favourites going into the process after a string of global and pan-European account wins of late, including Unilever, Nestlé, Samsung and HSBC last year.

For the HSBC pitch early last year, Sorrell was one of the agency networks chiefs who personally pitched for the business.

However, WPP's flagship media agency MindShare will not be part of the airline pitch as it already holds the account for German airline Lufthansa. It is unclear which agencies Omnicom and Publicis would use if successful.

Have your say...

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Media Week Jobs
Search for more media jobs


Watch the first YouTube clip, nine years on

Watch the first YouTube clip, nine years on

This week marks the ninth anniversary of the first clip uploaded on YouTube, a 19-second video of YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.

Yahoo hosts exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past films

Yahoo hosts exclusive X-Men: Days of Future Past films

Yahoo has partnered with film distributor Twentieth Century Fox to create a global content hub on its Yahoo Movies platform for new release 'X-Men: Days of Future Past'.

My Media Week: Stuart Taylor

My Media Week: Stuart Taylor

This week, Stuart Taylor, chief executive, Kinetic UK, is inspired by the new tech coming to market and how wearables and smart cities will impact on OOH.


Get news by email