McKinney Wins Virgin Atlantic

BOSTON Virgin Atlantic Airways has selected Havas’ McKinney for creative and strategic chores following a review.

MEC Interaction, a unit of WPP Group’s Mediaedge:cia, will handle communications planning and buying.

The airline placed its business in review in May after parting ways with incumbent Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami, a unit of MDC Partners. Crispin had worked on the Virgin account since 2003. The shop turned down an invitation to defend.

Elizabeth Zea of Gilbert & Company helped coordinate the search, and the airline had a pre-selected shortlist of agencies that vied for the account. Those shops were not disclosed.

In recent years, the Norwalk, Conn.-based client has spent about $5 million annually in domestic measured media, per TNS Media Intelligence.

“From the start, McKinney showed their collaborative nature and proved they have both the strategic and creative teams that will help move forward the Virgin Atlantic brand,” said Chris Rossi, Virgin Atlantic svp, North America, in a statement. “Since our first flight, the airline has stood for service, innovation and value, characteristics that were displayed by the entire McKinney and MEC Interaction team, making this the clear choice.”

Added agency president Jeff Jones, “They are one of the top brands our employees most desired to work with over the past five years, so this is an extra proud day for McKinney.” The agency is located in Durham, N.C.