JetBlue's review of advertising duties covers all agency partnerships, according to an airline representative.
Lead creative agency JWT is not defending. The media incumbent is fellow WPP Group shop MediaCom, and digital duties on JetBlue.com are handled by Interpublic Group's Huge in Brooklyn, N.Y. MediaCom and Huge had no comment.
Major media spending on the brand exceeded $20 million last year and approached $10 million in the first nine months of 2009, according to Nielsen. Those figures don't include online spending.
The New York offices of JWT and MediaCom have worked on JetBlue since late 2005, when the duo won a pitch against four other contenders. The other finalists at the time were New York shops mcgarrybowen, Taxi, Amalgamated and then incumbent The Ad Store.
In a Tuesday e-mail to agency staffers, JWT North American president Rosemarie Ryan and co-president Ty Montague trumpeted the shop's work in the past four years.
"We have created business-building, award-winning work worthy of the brand and its unique culture," Ryan and Montague wrote. "We've helped JetBlue expand their footprint from 34 markets to 64 markets and open the critically acclaimed T5 at JFK. We've weathered a couple of storms -- and helped a couple of CEOs weather theirs -- by introducing the wonders of jet-class, JetBlue style."
In the spring, JWT launched a timely campaign that skewered CEOs who travel in private planes. The "Welcome Bigwigs" effort, which included print ads and tongue-in-check online videos, invited such CEOs to fly commercial, on JetBlue.
In their note, Ryan and Montague added, "We wish them every success." A JWT rep declined further comment.
The JetBlue rep said the airline was "very disappointed" by how JWT exited, noting, "we had not made any final decision and discussions with JWT were ongoing." Nonetheless, the rep added, "We would like to thank JWT for their support over the last five years."
This story updates an item posted on Nov. 24 with client quotes and additional information.