In the advertising world this was the major news story at the end of 2013. In an exceptional deal fully reflecting the entrepreneurial spirit of partners Stéphane Buisseret and Eric Hollander, Air becomes the exclusive partner of the long-standing premier Belgian agency, McCann Brussels. McCann's teams were integrated into Air as from end January 2014 as were its local and above all international clients, including L’Oréal, Exxon and Nestlé.
This deal makes Air one of the largest independent agencies in the country with 65 staff and sales at around EUR 15 million, also providing it – as well as its local clients – with access to real international development opportunities.
In setting up Air Digital with IDWeaver, Air acquired the perfect digital partner resulting in improved responsiveness for its customers and accelerated development. This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the partnership led to winning one of the biggest pitches of the year, with VOO and BeTV, more than compensating for the departure of Mobistar in January 2013. It also enabled them to take on Leffe's digital budget of close on EUR 1M, previously managed by Emakina.
This digitalisation of Air is also reflected in its recruitment of a number of big names in web development solutions, including Amélie Sainthuile (ex-Social Networks Strategies Manager for Emakina) who has joined the Strategic Planning team led by Isabelle Moulart.
In the wake of this success, having set itself up with a Brand Content unit, Air is now also responsible for developing brand content for both Leffe and Bongrain. The unit was also behind the Delhaize TV sketches with Jeroen de Pauw and Audrey Lenoir. And this same unit created and managed the Facebook page: "Why I will vote for Joachim Rubin (from Delhaize) as Marketer of the Year". Who was, we should mention, voted ...
Crisis or not, an agency that doesn't invest in talent is doomed to invisibility. So in 2013 Air hired a number of key creative people locally. And these recruitments bore fruit, with the new VOO Saga episodes already a massive hit on social networks. Among other items they feature, astonishingly, a Flemish family who are won over by VOO's special offers and decide to settle in Wallonia.
Loyal to its convictions, and despite the recession, Air has chosen not to shirk its social responsibility which has been its trademark for 20 years. And 2013 was an exceptionally good year for the agency, in respect of both Cap 48 which raised record amounts, and Amnesty International with its launch of a high profile Superheroes campaign, following the death of Nelson Mandela. Air's commitment to Europe was also marked by winning the European Commission DG Communication framework contract in partnership with the agency Mostra.
The "Air agency of the year" presentation video is accessible via http://goo.gl/CGolxk