Oct 19, 2006

Dragonair cuts brand unit

Dragonair has axed its entire marketing team, with GM of marketing Singmay Chou, and Louisa Wu, director of marketing, among the casualties.

Dragonair cuts brand unit

The layoffs — the first rumblings of what could be sweeping changes to Dragonair's brand and marketing strategy — follow the airline's acquisition by Hong Kong flagship carrier Cathay Pacific. The job cuts are part of company-wide redundancies that affected almost 180 staff across a number of departments.

Dragonair's marketing operations will now fall under the remit of Charlie Stewart-Cox, Cathay's marketing GM, with Celine Ho, marketing communications manager potentially taking on the day-to-day running of marketing, along with her Cathay responsibilities. Cathay did not return calls for comment, but  Dragonair's spokesperson said: "Marketing work for all our services is now handled by Cathay. This enables synergies between the airlines."

It is also unclear what the move will mean for Dragonair's roster agencies Leo Burnett and Starcom, which picked up the airline's business just six months ago. Dragonair's adspend, estimated at US$6.4 million in 2005, has dropped considerably, say sources, with agencies tasked with tactical work.

The latest move could now deal a further blow to agencies, with sources pointing out that Cathay's dedicated McCann Erickson marketing team may yet have a bigger role to play once the new  structure is finalised. "We have had a conversation with Cathay and they are still determining how to manage communications for the Dragonair brand," noted Michael Wood, Leo Burnett Greater China chairman.

Questions also hang over the future of Dragonair's brand. Ingram Brand Company's Peter Wilken said a move to bring the two brands under one portfolio was likely. "I don't think they're going to get solutions from an agency partner, because this is more than communications, this is business strategy."


Related Articles

Just Published

5 hours ago

Should brands continue to take a stance in Asia's ...

After Samsung pulled an ad featuring a drag queen and his mother in Singapore, eight creative and communications leaders discuss how brands should balance purpose and politics.

6 hours ago

Women Leading Change Awards 2022: Call for entries

Get started now on your entries for the sixth-annual awards honouring business leaders, change-makers, trailblazers, and rising stars. The early-bird deadline is February 25.

6 hours ago

WFA offers guide for DEI-conscious media planning ...

DEI is not just a task for creative and HR teams, the guide's authors argue: Planning and buying choices play a critical role in supporting diverse voices and controlling whether hate speech and misinformation get funded.

6 hours ago

Let’s move beyond the simplistic ‘business case’ ...

There’s far more at stake here and leaders need to demonstrate they know the importance of moving beyond mandates, says the CEO of PHD India.