BA tipped to hand £60m trophy business to BBH

LONDON - British Airways is poised to hand its £60m ad business to Bartle Bogle Hegarty, ripping the heart out of incumbent M&C Saatchi.

As Marketing went to press, the airline claimed the decision-making process was ongoing and that M&C, JWT and DDB London were all being considered.

In response to a newspaper article that claimed M&C had lost the business, the airline contacted all the agencies to assure them no decision had been made.

However, pitch insiders told Marketing that BBH is the clear favourite and the other agencies were now resigned to not winning the business, with BBH's appointment set to be confirmed within days.

British Airways was M&C Saatchi's founding client 10 years ago, though their relationship stretches back 23 years; Saatchi brothers Charles and Maurice created the "World's favourite airline" tagline for the carrier in 1982.

The pitch, understood to be price-led, was instigated by the arrival of Willie Walsh as BA's chief executive; he has since embarked on a cost-cutting drive. BA commercial director Martin George, head of marketing communications Jill McDonald, and head of UK and Ireland marketing Jayne O'Brien are overseeing the pitch.

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