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$100 Mil. British Airways Goes to BBH

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NEW YORK British Airways on Tuesday said it has hired Bartle Bogle Hegarty for global creative chores on its ad account following a review.

Estimated billings are $100 million.

The other finalists were WPP Group's JWT, Omnicom Group's DDB and the incumbent, independent M&C Saatchi. Each agency's London office led its pitch, and final presentations took place last month at the client's headquarters in the U.K. [Adweek, Sept. 12].

M&C, which has handled the account since 1995, could not immediately be reached. But a source said the agency had been told of the decision late last week.

BBH takes over on Nov. 15, when M&C Saatchi's contract ends, the client said.

"We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with M&C Saatchi, which has produced many memorable campaigns for us over the years," said Martin George, the airline's commercial director, in a statement. "However, we must look to the future now and adapt to the changing environment in which we operate and the needs of our business."

He said BBH "was chosen for the outstanding insight, creative ability and proven track record of delivering effective advertising it demonstrated in the pitch process."

Nigel Bogle, worldwide CEO of BBH, which is 49 percent owned by Publicis Groupe, said, "There's something very special about representing your nation's flag carrier. It's been no secret that we've wanted this for a long time and we look forward to being BA's partner around the world."

Media duties, which were not in play, remain at Publicis' ZenithOptimedia.