Virgin Atlantic Airways Cuts to 6

NEW YORK Virgin Atlantic Airways on Thursday narrowed its search for a new ad agency to half a dozen shops, a client executive confirmed.

The agencies are WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York; Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami; Interpublic Group’s The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. and Mullen in Wenham, Mass. and Omnicom Group’s Merkley Newman Harty & Partners and TBWA\Chiat\Day, both in New York, according to John Riordan, vp marketing for North America.

The list was culled from a larger group of 10-12 shops [Adweek, March 24]. Among the shops that did not advance were Havas’ McKinney & Silver in Raleigh, N.C.; Bartle Bogle Hegarty in New York and WPP’s BrandBuzz in New York, sources said.

Client executives will visit the remaining contenders in two weeks and based on those visits, will cut to three finalists. Billings on the account are estimated at $12-15 million.

The Norwalk, Conn. client hopes to hire an agency by June. The search is being managed by New York consultancy Roth Associates.