Taking Off Again: Vietnam Airline Reviews Global Ad Account

Steve’s breakdown: We reported in July Vietnam Airlines calls a global creative and media pitch but they called the pitch off because “none of the 17 bidding agencies had proven up to scratch.” But it seems the pitch is back on.

HANOI, Vietnam: An undisclosed 4A agency head, who attended the pitch presentation earlier this month told Campaign, “I am not sure the presentation is relevant or not. The information that the client has given to agencies is not very open. They did not clarify very clearly to agencies what would be the next step. The client may even re-open the tender.”

Vietnam’s national carrier called a global creative and media pitch last July. Its media billing is believed to be worth about US$15 million a year. The pitch presentation meetings involved 17 agencies, including international agencies Dentsu, Publicis, JWT, Leo Burnett, and Lowe.

However, in September, a VNA spokesperson said that none of the 17 bidding agencies had proven up to scratch. “It’s regretful that all bidding documents from bidders didn’t meet the requirements of the invitation,” he said in a statement.

Ogilvy & Mather, which had held the account from 2008, has confirmed it is no longer working with VNA. Its contract expired before the pitch. VNA said at the time that it would handle its creative  in-house for the time being.

“As VNA is a state-owned company, they have the responsibility to pitch for their business every other year,” said another 4A agency boss, who opted not to take part in this re-pitch. “To be honest, Vietnam Airlines may be a very well-known brand, but we burnt our fingers last year when we joined their pitch and then they canceled it. We don’t want to repitch again, they would have to judge us on what we have presented last year already.”

Based in Hanoi, VNA is wholly owned by the Vietnamese government. It is ranked as a three-star airline, according to the independent research consultancy firm Skytrax, and became a member of SkyTeam on 10 June 2010, making it the sole Southeast Asian carrier in that alliance.

Last December, VNA  launched its first direct flights to the UK (Gatwick) from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

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