The online travel agency today breaks its first work from Mullen, Wenham, Mass, which won the account from Young & Rubicam, Chicago, late last year. Placement will focus on prime-time network slots with national buys on morning news programs. The schedule also includes prime-time shows like American Idol and Lost in select markets and a presence on cable channels like Food TV, A&E, CNN, Weather Channel, Bravo and ESPN. Budget was not disclosed. Measured media spending last year was $68 million, up 31% from 2005, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Creative brings attention to proactive Orbitz features with the tagline ?A Step Ahead.? In two executions featuring couples?one spot casts a man and woman and the other stars two gay men?saying goodbye at the airport. ?What?s that?? says one character, pointing to the halo with a circling plane and rain cloud that just popped above the head of their departing love. ?That?s Orbitz telling me my flight is delayed. I guess we have more time.?

The company has been sending alerts about flight delays, gate changes and cancellations to customer cell phones and hand-held wireless devices since 2001. That service moved to the forefront of Orbitz? marketing strategy with the January 2006 launch of sub-brand Orbitz.

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