Num­ber of re­gional agen­cies vie for the ac­count.

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - By Eleanor Dickinson

Qatar Air­ways has kicked off a re­gional search for a me­dia agency.

The Doha-based avi­a­tion gi­ant is un­der­stood to have ap­proached a num­ber of me­dia net­works to pitch for the me­dia plan­ning and buy­ing brief for the Mid­dle East and North Africa.

There is no in­cum­bent agency on the ac­count as the du­ties are cur­rently han­dled in- house from the Qatari na­tional car­rier’s of­fices in Dubai.

The air­line’s mar­ket­ing de­part­ment has sent out the re­quests for pro­posal, but the process re­mains at an early stage. It is un­der­stood that the fi­nal rounds will be held by the end of the year.

Of the net­works in­vited to pitch, it is un­der­stood that Carat MENA, Group M sib­lings BPG Maxus and MEC, and UM MENA have ac­cepted, while Om­ni­com Me­dia Group’s agen­cies OMD and PHD have re­port­edly de­clined to take part.

Nei­ther Star­com nor Zenith will pitch due to hold­ing con­flict­ing air­line ac­counts, but it re­mains un­clear as to whether Publi­cis Me­dia’s re­main­ing agen­cies, Me­di­avest Spark or Op­ti­me­dia Blue 449, will take part.

A spokes­woman for Qatar Air­ways de­clined to com­ment.

The Qatari gov­ern­ment-owned air­line last called a re­view of its global me­dia ac­count in 2011, re­ported to be worth $30 mil­lion at the time, though no agency is be­lieved to have been cho­sen.

Prior to that, the ac­count was said to be han­dled by QMe­dia (which was formed from an al­liance be­tween out­door sup­plier JCDe­caux and lo­cal Qatari part­ners) work­ing with agen­cies on an ad hoc, mar­ket-by-mar­ket ba­sis.

Qatar Air­ways’ se­nior vice presi- dent for mar­ket­ing & cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions told Cam­paign ear­lier this year that the air­line has a di­rect re­la­tion­ship with tele­vi­sion sta­tions, but works with agen­cies on print plan­ning and buy­ing.

So­cial me­dia is also han­dled by the air­line’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions team.

Last year the car­rier, which flies from Doha’s Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port, launched a global re-brand af­ter it ditched its long-term tagline “The world’s five-star air­line” in favour of “Go­ing places to­gether”.

The ac­com­pa­ny­ing cam­paign was over­seen by J. Wal­ter Thompson Lon­don, which won the global cre­ative ac­count in 2014, while ros­ter agency 180 Am­s­ter­dam made the tele­vi­sion com­mer­cial.

New part­ners: Qatar Air­ways is be­lieved to be in talks with agen­cies from WPP, Dentsu Aegis Net­work and IPG

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