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Porter Airlines passes over Chicago ad agencies for now

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Has Chicago's ad industry lost the "wow" factor? We wondered about that after we got word from Porter Airlines this morning that, for now, the carrier isn't going to award any project assignments to Chicago ad agencies.

This news comes after executives from Porter visited several Chicago ad agencies (more than one and fewer than five reportedly) several weeks ago. Zig/Chicago and Two by Four/Chicago were believed to be two of the shops Porter visited.

The purpose of the visits, we were told, was to assess the agencies and decide whether Porter wanted to work with any of them on Chicago-specific marketing projects. Porter spokesman Brad Cicero has just informed us that Winkreative/London remains the Toronto-based airline's agency of record. As for any decision about using a Chicago-based partner, Cicero said this morning that it was still "considering" such a possibility, but "the process is ongoing." Who knows what the process is, however, and how long it will be ongoing. And, more importantly, whether it will ever yield a Chicago ad agency partner for the carrier.

But nothing the Porter executives apparently saw or heard during their recent visit compelled them to rush to sign up a Chicago shop. Which is unfortunate. Because although the airline industry has been in a state of tumult for some time, it remains a sexy category to be in, to be sure. And an interesting marketing challenge for those agencies that do have airline accounts.

In any event, Chicago agencies seem to have failed to deliver the kind of "wow" presentations that could have immediately brought some Porter business to Chicago. So while we're in the midst of this slump in the Chicago ad industry, maybe everyone in the biz needs to rethink how to give their new biz pitches more of that "wow" factor. Couldn't hurt.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on April 21, 2010 2:10 PM.

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