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Alaska Airlines Lands at Mekanism After Nearly 20 Years With Wongdoody

Agency will open Seattle office to service airline and other area clients

The agency shift follows the company's first rebranding in 25 years. Photo: Alaska Airlines

Nearly two decades after its last creative review, Alaska Airlines has chosen Mekanism as its new creative agency of record.

This announcement follows the Seattle-based travel brand's first full makeover in 25 years. Mekanism, an independent agency which currently maintains offices in New York and San Francisco, also plans to open a location in Seattle later this month to handle the new account, along with those of other area clients such as Amazon, Nordstrom Rack and Starbucks.

"They got us. It was a great cultural fit and there was an immediate chemistry between our team and theirs," said Alaska Airlines vp of marketing Sangita Woerner. "Mekanism's strategic approach to delivering breakthrough creative and mastery of digital advertising, or 'storytelling for emerging media,' also set them apart."

The Alaska Airlines business had been with West Coast indie shop Wongdoody since 1997, when that agency beat out incumbent Goodby Silverstein & Partners and others in an epic 13-month review. Over the following 18-plus years, Wongdoody created a wide variety of work for the client, including its most recent campaign featuring the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson.

Last month, branding and design firm Hornall Anderson led a full rebranding project for the airline, which debuted a revised color palette, workmark and graphic language as well as a new version of its "Eskimo" logo. (Though the latter did spark a public apology when the brand was criticized for the "Meet our Eskimo" section of its website, which some found to be disrespectful to native Alaskans.) 

"As we look to grow our Seattle hub and expand into new markets, now is the time to execute on a new creative campaign that complements our newly refreshed brand," said Woerner.

Mekanism evp and managing director Mike Zlatoper added, "It's an honor and a huge responsibility to help a brand with such strong identity and soul to tell it's story in a new and interesting way."

"We are incredibly excited to roll-up our sleeves and begin working with this much-loved and iconic brand," said Mekanism partner Pete Caban. "Our new Seattle office will put us on the ground locally to support our Alaska partnership, while also providing opportunities for growth amongst the numerous blue-chip businesses in the region."

Mekanism's first campaign for Alaska Airlines should launch in the spring, and the agency is currently looking to hire an executive to run its Seattle location.

The airline spent just under $8 million on measured media in the first nine months of 2015, according to Kantar Media. This total marks a slight decline from the same period in 2014, during which the company spent approximately $11 million.

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