The appointment is a blow to D'Arcy, which handles the rest of McCain's £12 million account. CDD was awarded the task after a number of strategic and creative presentations. D'Arcy was not asked to present.
Media buying will be handled by McCain's media agency, PHD Compass. A TV campaign is scheduled to break early next year.
The move comes as McCain moves to take advantage of a frozen foods market buoyant with new product launches and rising sales. Last year, the UK frozen food market rose 2 per cent to £3.34 billion, with rival companies such as Birds Eye Walls confronting the growing chilled fresh food sector head-on with a raft of innovations.
It is a crucial win for CDD, which has failed to pick up any significant new business since it launched with the £8 million Mercedes account at the end of last year.
The CDD managing director, Alison Hoad, said: "McCain has a dynamic track record when it comes to new product development. It's great to have an opportunity to work on such a populist food brand. Interest in food has rocketed over the past few years - you only have to look at the proliferation of food programming and magazines to see that.
"In tandem with that, we've also seen much more engaging food advertising. It's now time to warm up frozen food."
McCain's marketing director, Julie Leivers, added: "It's great to have CDD on board. They are original thinkers who have approached our business in a very fresh way."