CP+B Successfully Lands American Airlines Business

By Patrick Coffee 

As (sort of) predicted yesterday, the world’s largest airline has chosen CP+B as its creative agency of record and MediaCom as its media shop after a review that lasted all summer.

The news that American Airlines would seek new agency partners surprised some when it first broke in July, but the client clearly wanted to start anew on the marketing front after negotiating its mega-merger with competitor U.S. Airways over a period of more than three years. The latter organization, which was once one of America’s largest, is no more after its final flight took off over the weekend.

As noted yesterday, MDC Partners’ Crispin and WPP’s MediaCom beat out three other teams to win the business: The Martin Agency, BBH/Optimedia and Energy BBDO/PHD. American becomes the second airline on Crispin’s roster after the shop picked up Turkish Airlines in 2013 and proceeded to create a number of campaigns expanding on the “Legends on Board” theme (which initially featured Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi).


The loss is a fairly big one for IPG. After McCann promised to “remain deeply committed to American Airlines here and globally,” we learned in September that the holding company would be represented by Martin rather than TM Advertising of Dallas, which won the account in 1981 and retained it after becoming a McCann affiliate in 2001. (TM’s CCO “resigned” last November and the agency named former DDB creative leader Lisa Bennett as his replacement last month.)

It’s also a significant win for CP+B, which garnered a great deal of attention on this blog in August for pushing out CEO Andrew Keller and several top creative leaders in an executive shakeup led by founder Chuck Porter and recently-appointed global CEO Lori Senecal (who also serves as CEO and president of parent company MDC Partners).

In the release, the client’s VP of global marketing Fernand Fernandez writes:

“From the very start, CP+B and MediaCom showed a clear understanding of American’s assets and opportunities, and it all starts with our 100,000 employees. We want to capture the enthusiasm and passion our employees have for the future of the airline and deliver that message to our customers with a genuine and unique campaign. We think our employees and our customers will be proud of how CP+B and MediaCom work with us to present American’s brand in the coming years.”

From Senecal:

“We are honored and excited that American has chosen CP+B and our partner MediaCom to help them achieve the bold ambitions they have for their brand. We are really inspired by their energy and vision, as we love working with forward thinking clients to drive brand and business growth.”

Kantar Media estimates that the client’s yearly media spend is worth approximately $60 million.

Today CP+B’s press contact referred us to the client, who in turn directed us toward the press release in lieu of further comment.

We predict hiring announcements and celebrity-free campaigns to come.