Emirates airline has narrowed its choice of advertising partners to four international agencies that are to design its special advertising campaign for Fifa 2010.
"We are in the final stages of the pitch and looking at various elements beyond creativity as a 360-degree approach to the campaign," said Steve Wheeler, Senior Vice-President Advertising of the airline. "Apart from creativity, means to generate revenue streams along with increase in traffic will be some of the deciding factors," said Wheeler.
Emirates initially invited a number of advertising agencies to compete in the first round of pitches, including BBDO, which handles its advertising in Dubai, Saatchi & Saatchi London, which has an existing relationship with Emirates through its Frankfurt office and Fallon.
Industry sources also said that Leagas Delaney, the in-cumbent on the £5 million (Dh27m) UK advertising account, did not pitch for the business.
However, following the first round of pitches, the airline opened up the contest to digital agencies, inviting five to join the pitch for the business. The result is expected in the next few weeks and a final decision by mid-February, said Wheeler.
The successful agency will take on the responsibility for creating a unified global communications strategy, which will seek to promote Emirates' sponsorship of the World Cup.
Emirates was the first airline to sponsor the Fifa World Cup, backing the 2006 tournament in Germany. The airline signed a $195m deal to become a Fifa partner from 2007 until 2014, giving it sponsorship rights over both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.
Commenting on the challenges of 2010 campaign in comparison to 2006, Wheeler said: "The 2006 campaign elevated us to an international brand and in 2010 we are expecting to convey the image of a global player."
The campaign, after fine adjustments will hit the international market in mid-June this year and is expected to be conveyed from all 80 destinations of the airline.
"We will reach out to the world in 50 to 60 languages conveying a unified message about the Fifa World to take place in South Africa," said Wheeler about the extent and reach of the campaign.
The centralised branding exercise is an extension of the airline's move to reduce the number of communication messages it sends from its different global markets.
Emirates airlines advertising budget has expectantly grown up by almost Dh156 million over the past year's estimated ad spend of Dh870m, according to the financial report released by the airline last year.
The airline has maintained an ad spend of around three per cent of revenue. In 2007, the group revenue crossed all expectations to Dh41.2bn and the airline is expecting to spend around three per cent of the same, that amounts to about Dh1.08bn.
According to a part of its partnership status with Fifa, Emirates has a commitment from Fifa to ensure that at least 22 matches, including the opening match, two quarter-finals, two semi-finals, the third place play off and the final of both the 2010 and the 2014 Fifa World Cups will be shown on free-to-air television within the UAE.
Emirates passengers will also benefit as the airline has the exclusive right to broadcast matches of both the 2010 and 2014 Fifa World Cups either live or delayed on its in-flight entertainment systems.