Merkley Lands $100 Mil. Airline

Startup Considered 7 Other N.Y. Contenders
NEW YORK–Merkley Newman Harty has been awarded the account of a new regional airline serving the Northeast, with tentative plans to launch next May.
The shop is getting in on the ground floor of the project and will be involved in naming the new carrier as well as developing its market positioning and advertising.
Billings were undisclosed, but one source involved in the review said the client indicated a total marketing budget of $100 million, with duties spanning from ad campaigns to ticket design.
Merkley prevailed in a review that included New York shops Black Ink, Cliff Freeman and Partners, Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer/ Euro RSCG, Warwick Baker O’Neill, and Wieden & Kennedy. Design consultancies Landor Associates and Interbrand Gerstman + Meyers also participated.
Amy Curtis McIntyre, a former Virgin Atlantic Airways executive who will lead marketing efforts for the startup, confirmed the selection of Merkley. “We wanted a marketing partner to help us build this new brand from the beginning,” she said. “Merkley truly executes integrated marketing.”
Curtis McIntyre said other ex-airline executives would be a part of the management team with financing coming from multiple sources, including a bank and private venture capitalists. She declined to divulge the identities of any of the parties.
During the review, the client was said to be impressed with the business model of Southwest Airlines, which touts low-cost, convenient travel options, sources said.
–with Justin Dini