American Airlines Taps Coleman as Target Shop

Move Aimed at Attracting More African American Fliers
CHICAGO–Don Coleman Advertising’s six-month affiliation with True North Communications helped it pick up American Airlines’ estimated $4 million account for advertising aimed at African Americans.
The Fort Worth, Texas, carrier is the first major airline to hire an African American agency, according to representatives at American and Coleman. The carrier’s general market agency, Temerlin McClain in Dallas, is owned by True North, which has a 49 percent stake in Don Coleman’s Southfield, Mich., shop.
After more than 30 shops responded to an initial request for proposals, the field was narrowed to about a half-dozen agencies before a final round that pitted Coleman against one other, undisclosed shop, a representative for the carrier said.
“The African American market has become an increasing part of our overall marketing efforts,” said Al Becker, a representative for American. “We simply felt the time had come to hire an agency with that specialty.”
Becker declined to confirm billing estimates, as did the agency.
Coleman’s business includes media buying and planning. A strategy for addressing the market has not been finalized, said Ed Boyd, executive vice president and director of client services at Don Coleman.
The advertising is expected to follow the general market path laid out by Temerlin, which takes a comfort approach with a campaign dubbed “More room.”
Ads will not concentrate on any type of traveler. “It truly will be a combination of business and leisure travel; we have to cover both of those areas,” Boyd said.
While he declined to comment specifically on how the True North affiliation came into play, Boyd said. “A big part of being in the True North structure is access to resources,” he said.
Temerlin previously did marketing aimed at African Americans through work on the airline’s $70 million general account, Becker said. American last year awarded a $4 million Hispanic ad account to Zubi Advertising Services in Coral Gables, Fla. K