Diana Marszalek 23 Jan 2020 // 1:00PM GMT
DALLAS — Southwest Airlines, the fourth largest carrier in the US, is reviewing its PR support as part of a larger appraisal at its agency partnerships, the Holmes Report has learned.
“We are evaluating our needs, but I’d note that’s not unusual and we regularly review our resources,” said public relations senior manager Chris Mainz. “And I’d also note that we’re not solely looking at PR support. We’re evaluating our needs for community outreach, social, employee communication, etc. We’ve had various agencies support us in all of these areas in the past, and we’re evaluating if that is still a need and to what extent.”
Southwest handles all of its public relations in-house, but “occasionally” taps various agencies for help on projects or for areas of expertise, such as cybersecurity and crisis communications, Mainz said. There is “nothing substantial to report” in terms of work underway, he said.
Individuals familiar with the process said the review is in its early stages, with agencies, at this point, being asked to provide information about their capabilities and case studies. Skills in creative storytelling, media relations, social insights, research and analytics, executive counsel, and reputation management are among agency requirements, they said.
Southwest enjoyed decades-long relationships with both its ad agency, Omnicom’s GSD&M, and media agency Camelot Strategic Marketing & Media, before replacing the latter with Public’s Spark Foundry in 2017. The airline spends more than $200m a year on advertising, according to MediaPost.