3 Pursue United Global Media

NEW YORK United Airlines is reviewing its global media account, with three agencies in pursuit of the business, according to sources.

Incumbents include WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia, which handles the bulk of the business, and Publicis Groupe’s Fallon, which works on U.S. planning and print media.

In addition to MEC, which is defending, Omnicom’s OMD and Publicis’ Starcom are pitching, though Fallon is not in the running, per sources.

The client spent $80 million on domestic ads in 2005 and $40 million in the first three quarters of 2006, per TNS Media Intelligence.

Estimated global ad spending is likely to exceed $100 million, sources said.

The contenders are scheduled to make final presentations next week.

Fallon also handles United’s creative assignment, which is not in review at this time, sources said. Fallon, which referred calls to the client, has worked on United’s business for 10 years.

Executives at the other shops either could not be reached or declined comment.

The win would be particularly crucial for Starcom, which handled media chores on the account for years when creative was developed at sibling shop Leo Burnett. Burnett lost the creative account to Fallon after a review 10 years ago.

A client representative said the company was “consistently looking to improve efficiencies from vendors,” but declined to comment specifically on the media review.