Canada's Porter Airlines is quietly looking for a Chicago-based agency to handle what spokesman Brad Cicero characterized as market-specific advertising projects for the carrier. In this instance those projects, of course, would be Chicago-specific. United Kingdom-based Winkreative has handled all of Porter's systemwide branding and advertising needs since the airline launched three-and-a-half years ago. Porter marketing executives reportedly visited several Chicago ad agencies (fewer than five said Cicero) in recent days. Two by Four/Chicago and Zig/Chicago (which has its roots in Toronto) are believed to be among the shops Porter looked at.
Porter commenced service to Chicago's Midway Airport from its primary hub in Toronto in the fall of 2008, and the airline has been a hugely visible and aggressive advertiser of its non-stop service in Chicago's daily newspapers, among other places. Quietly, some Chicago ad executives have questioned whether Porter's current print advertising does a sufficiently good job of conveying the relatively high-end Porter in-flight experience, which includes complimentary beverage service in real glasses and boxed snacks on all flights. The carrier flies modern turboprop planes. "That raccoon maybe isn't the best way to tout what Porter offers," said one local ad executive, a reference to a raccoon character that appears in numerous Porter display ads.
Porter spokesman Cicero said it would probably take company executives another week or two to review all that they saw and heard in their visits to Chicago agencies, and at that point they will have a better sense of what kind of marketing projects they may want to undertake in Chicago and which local agency would be best suited for the task.