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Finalists Await Decision in Southwest Review

Arnold looks to extend its hot streak

Arnold CEO Andrew Bennett

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Can Arnold win its fourth pitch in four weeks?

The Havas agency, which is on a mcgarrybowenesque roll, awaits a decision in Southwest Airlines' creative review after landing the creative accounts of the University of Phoenix, American Eagle Outfitters and Kohler since late April.

Collectively, the first three wins represent about $10 million in annual revenue, according to sources; revenue on the Southwest assignment is estimated at $5 million.

Arnold declined to discuss Southwest, but the shop’s Boston office is among four finalists for the business. The others are TBWA\Chiat\Day in Playa del Rey, Calif., Leo Burnett in Chicago and Deutsch L.A. in Marina del Rey, Calif.

Final presentations took place on May 10 and 11 at Southwest’s headquarters in Dallas. Each agency got about 2 1/2 hours to pitch to a group of airline executives, sources said.

TBWA\C\D went first on the morning of the 10th, followed by Arnold in the afternoon, sources said. The following day, Deutsch presented in the morning and Leo Burnett in the afternoon.

The airline is seeking an agency to rethink its core brand strategy and, at the onset, produce a fall campaign. A selection could come as early as next week.

GSD&M has been Southwest’s lead shop for years and will remain on the roster to handle consumer marketing and advertising around the airline’s merger with AirTran, according to the airline’s initial RFP. Select Resources International in Santa Monica, Calif. is managing the search.

The University of Phoenix and American Eagle were Boston wins; Arnold’s New York office won Kohler

The most recent win was University of Phoenix, which this week named Arnold as its new lead creative agency. The selection came after a review in which there were two other finalists: Campbell Ewald in West Hollywood, Calif. and Muhtayzik Hoffer in San Francisco.

The school’s media spending totaled nearly $74 million last year, according to Nielsen. That figure doesn’t online spending, however, and Arnold’s assignment includes digital advertising. University of Phoenix’ previous lead shop was Pereira & O’Dell in San Francisco.