In an interesting twist, this afternoon our colleague Marty Swant reported that the McCann Worldgroup has chosen fellow IPG shop/McCann network member The Martin Agency to lead its efforts to retain American Airlines.
The business had been with TM Advertising for more than two decades, and the event that precipitated the move was not a new CMO but the merger of American and rival U.S. Airways back in 2013.
As reported when news of the review first broke in July, McCann is indeed participating–but not with Dallas-based TM Advertising, which it acquired in 2001. The Martin Agency is effectively serving as a surrogate in this case.
The move away from TM is not completely unexpected. Last November, CCO Bill Oakley (who had been worldwide CD on American and other accounts for years) stepped down from his position. We still have no word on his current status or whether pending changes in the American business had anything to do with his departure.
Other finalists in the creative/media review are Energy BBDO/PHD, BBH/Optimedia and CP+B/Mediacom. American should make its decision this fall.