Vegas Startup Airline Picks Phoenix’s Lane

E.B. Lane has landed the estimated $5-6 million account of a startup airline.
The Phoenix agency prevailed over undisclosed shops in California, Las Vegas and Phoenix to win the account of National Airlines, a new carrier financed in part by Harrah’s Entertainment and Rio Hotel & Casino. The Las Vegas-based carrier is scheduled to begin service in March in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and plans to add four or five more markets by the end of 1999.
National chose Lane after conducting a two-month review. The decision came down to “chemistry,” according to Mark Suman, National’s senior vice president, strategic planning.
The agency got into the pitch through a mutual business acquaintance: USWeb Corp., a global Internet professional services company. “We have a strategic alliance with them,” said agency president Beau Lane. “Through some of the key people we work with there, we got to know the people at National.”
Lane added that the agency’s staff has experience in the category. Todd Bresnahan, vice president of account services, who led the pitch, worked on the American Airlines account both on the client side and at DDB Needham and Bozell Worldwide.
Suman said the airline is seeking alternative approaches to the industry’s usual ad strategies. It also is developing creative strategies for e-commerce marketing via USWeb.
The agency is partnering with Hunt Marketing Group in Seattle to develop direct marketing and database management programs.
The shop has a service office in Las Vegas, but the account will be handled primarily out of Phoenix, Lane said.
The win caps a month of growth at the agency. Its media buying arm, Results Media, recently won the account of Utah-based Icon Health & Fitness. Its media budget is estimated at $10-20 million. Lane is also developing campaigns for other accounts that will be moving into the national market next year.