El Al Picks New U.S. Agency, Debuts ‘Vacations’ Campaign

Soubriet Byrne & Associates lands another travel brand

EL AL recently selected its new lead agency in the U.S., Soubriet Byrne & Associates (SBA), which beat out four other unnamed contenders, per the brand. Excluding business-to-business and Internet, the Israeli airline's ad spend hit $389,000 last year, according to Nielsen, while totaling $312,000 during 2011.

"SBA is a small agency that maximizes their creativity and production and has [brand] challenger experience," Sheryl Stein, EL AL's U.S. marketing manager, told Adweek. "You can see the creativity in our current ads."

The airline launched print promos for its new "Vacations" service over the weekend, and it will debut Web display and Facebook ads in the coming weeks. "The concept is that any vacation to Israel begins the moment you step onboard the EL AL aircraft," Stein said. "We are going to be very active in social media."

Indeed, her firm has recently turned to Facebook to target consumers interested in traveling to Israel. For instance, last November, it ran a parody-heavy campaign on the social site that centered on a video where characters attempted to pull stunts to get free seat upgrades.

Meanwhile, EL AL's previous lead agency, The Ad Store, apparently closed in recent months after, coincidentally, appearing on AMC's The Pitch about a year ago. Calls to the New York-based agency weren't returned, and a message to the lone email address on its Web site bounced. McCann Erickson handles Israel for the brand, according to Stein.

Lastly, the win for SBA means more share of the global travel industry for the New York-based shop, while also counting KLM, Austrian Airlines, Finnair and the Netherlands Board of Tourism as clients.