After a lengthy review process that took the better part of a year to complete, Dubai-based carrier Emirates said it has chosen independent agency StrawberryFrog as its lead global creative partner.
The shop's office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, will handle the assignment.
"StrawberryFrog presented some outstanding and innovative ideas that connected with our vision of where we want to take our brand as we evolve and enter a new growth phase," said Boutros Boutros, divisional svp, corporate communications at Emirates. "We look forward to working with them to define and create a new category in the evolving media landscape, one that reflects our values and global aspirations."
Scott Goodson, agency CEO, added: "A powerful collaboration with our StrawberryFrog New York team led to a truly global solution."
It is unclear which other shops ultimately competed, though at various points in the process, Publicis Groupe (with its Saatchi & Saatchi unit taking the lead and working with siblings like Leo Burnett); Omnicom (represented by BBDO); WPP Group's Grey; and Chime Communications (whose Bell Pottinger sports and sponsorship unit has worked with Emirates on efforts like the 2007 Rugby World Cup) were in contention. IPG, represented by Draftfcb and Lowe, was cut last fall.
The review was undertaken to streamline the airline's global creative marketing services, including those beyond traditional advertising such as direct, digital and event marketing.
Emirates has worked with a multitude of agencies around the world, including Saatchi, BBDO and Grey as well as a virtual network of more than 100 marketing agencies, known as EmPower.
In '08, the airline consolidated global media duties at Publicis' Starcom MediaVest.
Spending was not disclosed. Media expenditures in the $300 million range were touted last year, but such figures were tied to the FiFA World Cup, which has, of course, been completed.
The airline has been a modest U.S. media spender, with annual domestic outlays in the $5-6 million range, per Nielsen.