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Cathay Pacific cuts ties with McCann as Publicis and VCCP are handed social, media and creative duties

McCann Worldwide has lost the Cathay Pacific business after 25 years, with the airline switching to Publicis Group and VCCP for its creative, media and social duties.

The pitch was the first conducted by the carrier in those 25 years.

“We were impressed with the quality of thinking and passion for Cathay from all the agencies that took part in this review,” Cathay Pacific general manager, brand, insights and marketing communication Edward Bell said in a statement.

“Among a very strong competitive set, both Publicis Groupe and VCCP stood out in terms of strategy, use of technology and disruptive mindset.”

Bell, who joined the airline last August, also paid tribute to McCann who he said “produced some great work and have maintained a strong commitment throughout”.

Edward Bell: New marketer, new agencies at Cathay

The statement also quoted Publicis Group CEO Tom Kao as being “extremely honoured and privileged” to work with Cathay.

VCCP chief executive Cliff Hall added that it was “ready to challenge the market with them on their journey to becoming the world’s best airline”.

Losing such an iconic brand will be a blow to McCann which has held the account since 1993.

Observers said the writing had been on the wall for McCann as soon as Bell joined the carrier, and the agency review was triggered.

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