Southwest Hands GSD&M Its Rapid Rewards Business

By Patrick Coffee 

Southwest Airlines has gone with the familiar candidate in awarding its Rapid Rewards business to Austin’s GSD&M. There was no review, and GSD&M has already been working on the account for several months.

This move marks a consolidation of sorts for the client, whose larger business has been with the agency in some form for more than three decades. The first recent change in that equation came in 2008 when the airline reached outside its comfort zone to hand Rapid Rewards to Wunderman. It followed by launching a formal creative review in 2012 and choosing TBWA as its newest agency partner while simultaneously reaffirming its longstanding relationship with GSD&M.

Last October we heard that the Wunderman relationship had ended for unexplained reasons and that the account would soon be “up for grabs,” which was not exactly true. It would seem that GSD&M had this one in the bag as soon as the client decided to drop Wunderman.

A GSD&M spokesperson says that Southwest “elected to give us the business because of our proven track record as the brand’s agency partner for over three decades as well as our known CRM experience and expertise.”

The Texas shop will launch new work to promote the client’s rewards service in coming weeks.

TBWA, on the other hand, has not created a visible campaign for Southwest in some time. The client chose GSD&M over Chiat to handle its rebranding efforts exactly one year ago, and work released over the past year included this campaign, created by David&Goliath to promote the client’s partnership with New York-New York Hotel & Casino (which is, of course, in Las Vegas).

In Real Business news, Southwest is doing well in the market, with its capacity currently at a record high amid revenue bumps and a general decline in airfare fees. Wall Street seems happy about all that.