Burger King has stunned its incumbent through-the-line agency,
DMB&B, by awarding its multi-million pound brand advertising account to
Ammirati Puris Lintas without a pitch.
DMB&B retains the fast-food giant’s below-the-line business and, for
now, its media planning. Media buying remains with Zenith Media.
Last year, Burger King spent pounds 6 million on advertising, according
to Register-MEAL. However, it is expected to up its spend significantly
in the coming year to as much as pounds 12 million to re-establish its
David Williams, Burger King’s senior vice-president and managing
director, Europe, is understood to have visited APL’s Ecclestone Square
offices earlier this week to announce his decision. APL has pursued the
business since its New York sister agency won the high-profile US
account in 1994.
The UK switch follows major changes in Burger King’s senior
Samantha Smith, the UK marketing director, was left without a job when
her role was axed, and John Prior replaced Keith Snelgrove as marketing
director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In October, Burger King
recruited Williams, a senior executive at PepsiCo Restaurants
International and the former chief executive of Pizza Hut, as European
Williams and the new team are thought to have been unhappy with DMB&B’s
latest TV work, which they believe was too narrowly targeted. The ads
were aimed at 16- to 24-year-olds and focused on the lengths the central
comic character would go to for a bite of a Burger King burger.
John Farrell, group chairman of DMB&B, refused to confirm or deny the
brand advertising was moving to APL. He said: ’All I am able to tell you
at this stage is that we are continuing to work with Burger King. I
don’t anticipate that will change.’
However, he admitted: ’The nature of how we work with Burger King may
change. But I have no doubt we will continue to work on the lion’s share
of the business. We have an ongoing and broad relationship with Burger
King in the UK and across Europe. It’s Burger King’s business to
William Eccleshare, APL’s chief executive, declined to comment and also
referred all questions to Burger King.
Prior refused to discuss the news with Campaign.