Arnold Soars With JetBlue Air

Carrier Moves Advertising From Merkley Without Formal Review
BOSTON–Arnold Communications has been awarded the $10-million JetBlue Airways account without a formal review.
Merkley Newman Harty, New York, has handled the JetBlue account since the carrier’s 1999 inception and will officially turn the account over to Arnold in late-July, a Merkley spokesman said.
Arnold was tapped based on the agency’s long-standing relationship with Kel Kelly, the newly appointed executive vice president of marketing and sales for the client in Kew Gardens, N.Y.
Kelly had been a client of Arnold’s at Walt Disney Co.’s, Waltham, Mass., which last week ceased operations. Kelly had also worked with Arnold senior vice president Barbara Reilly in the mid-1990s when the former served with Norwood, Mass., networking technology concern Microcom and Reilly worked at Boston shop Houston Herstek Favat.
Reilly will oversee the JetBlue account at Arnold.
“Having worked closely with Arnold … I know they have a proven ability to create smart, strategic and creative integrated campaigns,” Kelly said.
A multimedia campaign employing broadcast, newspaper and outdoor executions will break later this summer in markets served by JetBlue, including the greater New York metropolitan area, upstate New York and Florida, Reilly said. JetBlue is looking to add more East Coast markets in short order, and ad spending is expected to more than double within a year, Reilly said.
The win is important to Arnold because it represents the chance to work with a young airline that could grow well beyond its regional roots, according to Reilly.
Through an agency spokesman, Merkley chairman Parry Merkley said: “We’re very proud of having created a powerful governing brand idea for JetBlue that helped them get this exciting new airline launched. We hope, as they go forward, that they’ll support that positioning with advertising beyond price and destination messages and achieve their well-conceived business plan.”
Merkley’s print-based efforts for the client used a one-word themeline: “Unbelievable.”
The privately held carrier is looking to compete by offering low-cost travel to cities including New York, Buffalo, N.Y. and Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa, Fla. JetBlue lists billionaire financier George Soros and a unit of Chase Manhattan among its initial investors. K