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updated: 8/11/2011 10:15 AM

United picks mcgarrybowen to lead global advertising

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CHICAGO -- United Continental Holdings has selected New York-based mcgarrybowen as the lead agency partner for the company's consolidated global consumer and trade advertising. mcgarrybowen will partner with New York-based Horizon Media to execute the airline's marketing communications strategy, traditional and digital creative and media investment management.

After an extensive search which began in the spring, United identified three integrated agency network finalists -- Arnold Worldwide, mcgarrybowen and TBWA¼Chiat¼Day -- from among eight agencies that originally vied for the account, including incumbents Kaplan Thaler Group and Barrie D'Rozario Murphy. The three finalists made final presentations in mid-July.

"Selecting a new long-term agency partner with the depth, expertise and passion to help us advance the United brand is one of the most important marketing decisions we have made since closing the merger of United and Continental," said Mark Bergsrud, senior vice president of marketing. "We are excited to work with mcgarrybowen to develop a marketing communications program that will enable us to tell the story of the new United."

John P. McGarry, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of mcgarrybowen, added his firm is "honored to have the opportunity to help define the new United -- a company born from two world-class airlines with great heritage and heart -- for its customers and its employees."

"We look forward to partnering with the United team on an effort that will bring fresh thinking, new insights and bold creative work to the highly competitive airline category," McGarry Jr. said.

New York-based Bajkowski + Partners LLC managed the integrated agency search. Sponsorship marketing, loyalty marketing, CRM and public relations were not part of the review.