13 September 2000

“We are not satisfied with the sales level in the business,” decreed Mikel Durham, Burger King’s newly appointed president for North America. And when a new presidential broom is dissatisfied with sales, it is the incumbent agency that tends to get swept.

And yesterday Ms Durham’s brush accordingly descended on agency of record for six years, New York-headquartered Lowe Lintas Worldwide. The hexed shop is still reeling from Monday’s sudden exit of the $80m-$110m Sun Microsystems account, preceded earlier this year by the Goldman Sachs Group and KPMG Peat Marwick.

But Lee Garfinkle, chairman and chief executive of Lowe Lintas’s US operations, masks any gloom, insisting that the agency will be participating in the Burger King review when it presents its latest work to the client on Friday. According to Garfinkle, BK aims to conduct consumer tests on the campaigns created by the competing shops, including the Lowe Lintas offering: "I hope it will test well, and I hope that they're open to the campaign. I feel pretty confident," he said.

The Interpublic-owned network was formed nearly a year ago when Ammirati Puris Lintas merged with Lowe & Partners Worldwide. The merger led to a number of client conflicts, among them Sun and Dell Computer.

Diageo-owned Burger King appointed Durham, a former senior executive at the group’s Guinness subsidiary, in early August with an initial public offering topping her ‘to do’ list. She aims to have a new agency in place by the year end.

News source: Wall Street Journal