BOSTON Online travel site Orbitz today said it has shifted creative chores on its ad account to Trailer Park Studios in Hollywood, Calif., without a review.
The shift constitutes another loss for Interpublic Group's Mullen.
Client rep Brian Hoyt said the fact that Trailer Park operates as a hybrid agency/production facility with many services in-house made it an attractive and less-expensive alternative. "It's a matter of cost at the end of the day," he said. Mullen's MediaHub unit retains buying and planning chores.
The client spent $57 million on ads last year and $13 million through the first four months of 2009, per Nielsen.
Mullen issued this statement: "This is a substantial and ongoing relationship. We just recently completed a new round of creative for Orbitz that is on the air and the client has told us they are happy with. They are going to continue to use the creative asset that Mullen developed for them in the future."
Mullen picked up Orbitz's creative in late 2006 and added media in May 2008.
Although the agency keeps media, the loss of creative is still a tough blow. The business has ranked among its highest-profile assignments, generating several humorous national campaigns, often set at a fictitious "institute" and involving outlandish travel-related experiments. Perhaps of greater concern, Mullen's new-business efforts of late have yielded scant return, and Orbitz becomes the latest in a string of client defections that includes T.J. Maxx earlier this month.
An agency representative would not comment on possible layoffs stemming from the Orbitz loss. Mullen has had two recent rounds of layoffs, with cuts impacting both its headquarters here and office in Winston-Salem, N.C.