McDonald's shakes up the client–agency relationship

Stephen Whiteside

Agencies can never know the life and soul of a brand better than their clients do. Instead of being an obstacle, however, this relative distance might prove beneficial in the quest to produce distinctive and creative campaigns.

"We are so up in the face of our brand all our day long," Jen Small, director of global brand development at quick-service chain McDonald's, told delegates at the 4A's Strategy Festival, held in Nashville during October 2013. "I often feel the best strategists, the best account people, the best creatives help us to take a step – or ten, or fifty – back from the brand."

From analysing demographic and psychographic trends to promoting untested technologies and techniques used in other categories, advertising professionals are well-placed to assess the evolving landscape and determine appropriate responses for a key reason: "At agencies, hopefully, you are looking at a broader picture," Small said.