RPA and OgilvyOne Win Southwest Airlines Digital Review

By Patrick Coffee 

Today Southwest Airlines confirmed that it has concluded its digital agency review by sending portions of its business to RPA and OgilvyOne, the consumer engagement wing of the WPP shop.

Incumbent VML declined to participate in the review conducted by SRI, and news of the win means that Publicis’ Razorfish–which played the tech support role, redesigned the homepage and participated in the most recent RFP–will no longer work on the account moving forward.

AdAge first reported on the review last November, with a client rep noting that “we’re looking for an agency with both consumer and digital experience in international [accounts]” for an assignment encompassing “a broad range of digital marketing duties.”

OgilvyOne and RPA both fit that bill. From a Southwest spokesperson:

“The scope of our business has changed and so we’ve selected two agencies that have the capability to strategically support our business going forward. We’re excited to embark on new partnerships adding two digital advertising agencies, RPA and OgilvyOne, to the Southwest Airlines’ family of agencies. These agencies have great depth of knowledge in both consumer and digital experience and we really look forward to working with them.”

The quote above does not clarify exactly which responsibilities will fall to which agency. But we hear from more than one source with direct knowledge of the matter that RPA will be digital agency of record while OgilvyOne will handle content strategy and development. We also hear that RPA’s Santa Monica office has already begun celebrating the win. An agency spokesperson writes, “We’re very honored and excited to be a digital partner for such an amazing brand as Southwest Airlines, and can’t wait to get started.”

This news will not affect the current status of Southwest’s relationship with longtime creative AOR GSD&M, which expanded its share of the business last September by winning responsibility for the Rapid Rewards program without a review when the client dropped Wunderman.