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Why we declined United's invitation.

United Airlines announced yesterday that it selected McGarryBowen as its new agency of record after a lengthy review.  We're happy for our friends at United and wish MB great success.

Many people are asking us why BD'M declined to participate in the review.  After all, BD'M created for United arguably the category's most distinctive and effective advertising (continuing the great work my partners Bob and Stuart led at Fallon).  The animated Rhapsody campaign has won nearly every international creative award through the years, and last year won an EFFIE for the effectiveness of our Travel Options campaign.

After United and Continental merged, with the inevitable management shuffle, the three of us came to the sober conclusion that incumbents seldom prevail in a post-merger environment and declined United's invitation to defend the business.  We decided it was smarter to invest our time and money, as well as the talents of our employees, doing great work for current clients while pursuing new opportunities.

Granted, it's easier to make a bold, principled decision after you've just prevailed in a major pitch to win a global AOR assignment from Dell, besting a range of multinationals for the computer giant's Public Sector business.

Did we make the right decision?  We think so.  While we miss our friends at United, being on offense instead of defense helped BD'M win a second global AOR from Dell, this time winning its Large Enterprise assignment, as well as the recent AOR assignment from Wagner.

I suppose the moral of this story is that sometimes in life you need to step back in order to move forward.


The United work will be never be forgotten. Tough decision for certain in today's business climate, but the right one. My continued respect and admiration.
The United work will be never be forgotten. Tough decision for certain in today's business climate, but the right one. My continued respect and admiration.
David, I applaud you and BDM's decision to not defend the newly emerged UAL account. While it may have appeared to be a gutsy move or a decision that you, Bob and Stuart wrestled with mightly; at the end of the day it sounds like a smart move and sound judgment. The irony of defending is why does a an incumbent agency have to compete against themselves for the work they have crafted. Being selective of the company (clients) you keep is a true testament of the creed of the BDM.

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