Burnett, Delta Fly Off Together

Shop’s Pitch Team Offers a Single Idea, And It Proves a Winner
CHICAGO–Leo Burnett brought one creative idea to Delta Air Lines, and that proved to be all it needed.
“We were very confident in our approach,” said Lisa Bennett, executive vice president and managing creative director at Burnett who led the creative charge.
Delta wants a stronger image, as its message is thought to be muddled at best. Burnett’s work, shown on storyboards only, looks to “rebuild the relationship between the airline and consumers,” said Bennett, who was also behind Burnett’s successful pitch and work for Heinz ketchup. The agency used no music or jingles, as it so famously did for United Airlines with “Rhapsody in Blue.”
Burnett used its airline expertise in research, but didn’t mention United during its two-hour presentation. “This is a different company; we wanted a fresh approach,” Bennett said.
Burnett’s win of Delta’s $100 million account over incumbent Saatchi & Saatchi, Grey Advertising and TBWA Worldwide comes three years after the shop was unceremoniously dumped by 31-year client United in favor of Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis.
The pitch team included only one veteran of the United group: Jim Thompson, executive vice president, managing account director. Others were Cheryl Berman, chief creative officer; Linda Wolf, president of Burnett North America; and David Rabjohns, a planning director.
Also on hand was Bob Brennan, chief operating officer of Starcom Worldwide, Burnett’s media division. The account includes media planning but not buying, which is at Zenith Media Services, New York.
New management at Delta, led by chief executive officer Leo Mullin, spurred the review, which brought an end to Saatchi’s “On top of the world” tagline. The company and Burnett downplayed Mullin’s relationship with the agency through earlier work at First Chicago Bank.
Saatchi took the loss philosophically. “It’s the story of a new [management] team wanting a new agency,” said Jennifer Laing, North American chief executive officer and chairman. Layoffs aren’t expected, she said.