United May Consolidate

CHICAGO-United Airlines has asked its two agencies, Fallon Minneapolis and Young & Rubicam, New York, to offer proposals for handling its $100-120 million global advertising responsibilities, officials with the airline said.

“United is seriously evaluating conolidating its advertising with one global agency,” said Matthew Triaca, a representative for the Elk Grove Villiage, Ill., airline. “They are the only two agencies we are looking at.”

The review was spurred b the airline’s increased costs, from jet fuel to new labor contracts, Triaca said. “Keeping costs down is a key focus for 2001,” he said.

United is also looking for “one strategic resource to manage the brand worldwide and create a foundation for a long-term partnership.” The company will be looking for “solid confirmation” that the agency can handle a global brand, from the ability to build a cohesive message to proving its global media buying abilities, he said.

Both agencies got new owners this year. Fallon, which handles United’s domestic advertising, became part of Publicis Groupe SA, while Y&R, which handles international advertising, became part of the WPP Group.

United has been beset by labor and service problems and still awaits approval of its merger with USAir. Proposals are due back within the next two weeks, with a decision expected in early 2001, Triaca said.

Trevor Jensen

Adweek