GLOBAL BRIEF: Is McDonald’s set for rethink?

Burnetts denies losing its grip on the brand’s global business. By Jane Austin.

Burnetts denies losing its grip on the brand’s global business. By

Jane Austin.

Last week’s revelation that McDonald’s in the US is to stage a creative

pitch between Leo Burnett, its lead agency, and the rival roster shop,

DDB Needham, has led to a frisson of excitement among agency networks

that the entire global business may now be up for grabs.

The official line from McDonald’s, however, is that the contest is

solely US-based and centred around finding a replacement for Burnetts’

’my McDonald’s’ campaign. Burnetts currently handles the bulk of

McDonald’s image advertising, while DDB, which created McDonald’s ’you

deserve a break today’ campaign of the 70s, promotes the food chain’s

breakfast products and handles most promotions.

Both agencies are seeking ideas contributions from their overseas


Depending on how the presentations are received, changes could range

from a reshuffling of assignments between the two agencies, to more

involvement in US creative executions by McDonald’s regional shops, or

even a review of the entire dollars 600 million US account.

Speculation that Burnetts might be losing its global grip on McDonald’s,

however, is strongly rejected by the agency’s London office.

A spokesperson says: ’The pitch is for a new brand assignment. In no way

will it affect our hold on the account in the UK, or have any global


Sources close to McDonald’s suggest the US review is partly a result of

the failure of the recent ’campaign 55’ price promotion through


Customers failed to take the offer up and May results revealed a

significant 4-6 per cent drop in sales.

Analysts suggest this latest failure is more than just the collapse of a

single promotion but symptomatic of a chaotic marketing strategy

McDonald’s, the largest fast food retailer in the US, has seen its US

market share eroded as rivals such as Burger King expand.

The issue that concerns analysts is the inconsistency of McDonald’s

marketing and PR strategy in recent years. The company has also been

losing credibility with its franchises by its expansionist strategy,

which has led to new outlets opening less than a mile from an existing


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