17 December 2009
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia is set to pitch its regional media business.
The airline’s media account is worth an estimated US$11.5 million.
In an exclusive interview with Media, Kathleen Tan, regional head of commercial at AirAsia, confirmed plans for the review, saying that the airline is looking to “put its media account up for pitch sometime next year”.
She added: “It’s a health check that we do every two to three years because sometimes if agencies win a business without a pitch I feel complacency comes in and they just cruise along. Sometimes change is good.”
In May last year, AirAsia split its regional media account between Carat and incumbent agency Omnicom Media Group.
Carat was given the media duties for the airline’s long-haul arm, AirAsia X, while OMD continued to work with AirAsia on existing projects. Since then, it is believed that OMD's remaining duties have been moved elsewhere.
In response to the news of the pitch, both Carat and OMD declined to comment.
In the interview, Tan also offered agencies some “frank feedback”. “I would advise media and creative agencies to change the team that services the client every two years. Having a new team will bring new ideas; then there is no reason for the client to change its agency,” she said.
On AirAsia’s advertising Tan said that the airline still had some way to go. “I don’t think it’s as innovative as I would like it to be. We want agencies to push the limit. I want to tell the agencies that sometimes, for tactical campaigns, we cannot take risks because we have to look at the bottom line and bring in the dollars.”
Tan singled out Carat Taiwan as the type of agency AirAsia would be looking for. “They engage you at all levels and bring extra value. Sometimes they advise us not to spend our budget and recommend editorial coverage instead.”
Tan also revealed plans to reward AirAsia’s best agencies through a scheme called Agency Extraordinaire.
AirAsia was crowned Brand of the Year at Media’s Agency of the Year Awards in Singapore. In the same week it became the airline with the largest number of followers on social network Facebook.