Malaysia Airlines has appointed GroupM as its media agency.
The WPP buyer takes on the account from IPG Mediabrands, a media agency that handled the business through the most difficult time in the airline’s history, after a six-month period last year saw MAS experience two air disasters.
However, the IPG Mediabrands has retained duties for social media, a function that was severely tested by the MH370 and MH17 catastrophes.
GroupM agency brands Mindshare and M/six won the business following a pitch involving Starcom, Havas, and Zenith and have set up a unit called Team MH to service it.
The appointment is effective May 1st 2016, and covers global channel planning, media buying and optimization, and search engine marketing and re-marketing.
All global digital buying will be done from GroupM’s Malaysian office.
GroupM said in a statement that the win came on the back of Mindshare and m/SIX pitching a proprietary framework called “AIR” to Malaysia Airlines. This gives the client advanced audience segmentation and targeting capabilities.
Girish Menon, CEO of GroupM Malaysia, described Malaysia Airlines as “the most prestigious global Malaysian brand” and said the appointment owed to his teams’ “understanding of the dynamic consumer journey, and applying the insights through effective use of real time data and technology.”
Grace Chan, head of group branding and communication for the airline said that GroupM “clearly demonstrated adaptive strategic thinking using their proprietary framework and capabilities.”
The departure of the business for IPG Mediabrands comes soon after the agency’s regional head Prashant Kumar’s exit after a 13-year term.