McDonald's asks agencies to take new approach

28 April 2010

OAK BROOK, Illinois: McDonald's, the fast food restaurant chain, is asking its advertising agencies to adopt a more collaborative approach as it seeks to enhance the effectiveness of its marketing.

The quick service specialist, which boasts an annual advertising spend of some $2bn (€1.5bn; £1.3bn) worldwide, recently unveiled an updated version of its global "I'm Lovin' It" campaign.

Around 18 months ago, the company briefed its agencies in a number of countries regarding its intention to refresh this long-running platform.

This group included DDB Worldwide and TBWA, both part of Omnicom Group, and Leo Burnett Worldwide, owned by Publicis Groupe, as well as Cossette, a Canadian independent, and Brazilian shop Taterka.

Having held a meeting featuring various members of its roster last summer, McDonald's then heard the individual ideas of each agency later in the year, and commissioned each to work on different projects.

"I really fundamentally believe that our advertising wouldn't be where it was today if our agencies didn't collaborate," Mary Dillon, McDonald's global chief marketing officer, said. "They know that's what the expectation is."

Dillon showed three TV spots produced by DDB and two from both TBWA and Leo Burnett at McDonald's recent biennial conference, which was attended by its franchisees, suppliers and senior marketers.

"This was never about a shootout. You could never operate with a single agency with a brand this big," she continued.

"Let's get lead agency partners in the room together – there was never any question that this was the right thing to do."

According to Don Hoffman, executive vice president, managing director accounts at DDB, this process has not been without complications, but has been aided by the constructive approach employed by its client.

"Working with multiple agency relationships can be difficult," he said, adding that Dillon was "really a champion for a team effort that fosters a collaborative environment."

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by Warc staff