Kayak.com Chooses TBWA for Europe

Annual media spending is estimated at $25 million

Kayak.com has hired TBWA as the travel search engine's first lead creative agency for the European market.

The Omnicom Group shop will run the business out of its office in Amsterdam. Sources estimated annual media spending at $25 million.

The hire came after a review in which there were two other finalists: VCCP and Scholz & Friends, according to Robert Birge, Kayak's global chief marketing officer. Each of those shops pitched out its Berlin office.

Grupo Consultores in Madrid managed the search, which began in August.

Previously in Europe, Kayak employed agencies such as Heimat in Germany on a project basis. The company's European headquarters is in Zurich, Switzerland and Stephanie Retcho is svp of marketing for the region.

Past ads have run across France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the U.K. TBWA is expected to work with its offices in those markets to produce ads. The new agency's first campaign is expected in the first quarter of next year.

Reflecting on the hire, Birge said he was impressed with TBWA's strategic view of the market, its creative ideas and the international flavor of its office in Amsterdam. Moreover, he described TBWA as a "good cultural fit."

Media planning and buying for the region were not in play and remain at ZenithOptimedia in London. Zenith landed that business in early 2013 after a review.

In the U.S., Barton F. Graf 9000 is Kayak's lead creative shop. The New York agency has handled the brand since 2010.