In the wake of forecasting its first quarterly loss in forty-seven years [WAMN: 18-Dec-02], the world’s largest burger chain McDonald’s has promised investors, analysts and the media “leadership advertising that sets our brand apart.”

The promise was made last week by new president/chief operating officer Charlie Bell in a conference call to the Wall Street pack. He revealed he had called a council of war with its US lead agency DDB (Chicago), Leo Burnett (kids’ advertising) and ten other of its main advertising and marketing shops from across the globe.

All will convene early in February to brainstorm a new branding concept to interface with updated store execution and menu plans. Added recently appointed chairman/ceo Jim Cantalupo: “We were once a shining example of great marketing and we will be again.”

Less of a shining example in the eyes of stock market bettors is Big Mac’s decision to stop spooning quarterly portions of fiscal fodder into the ever-open maws of investors, investment banks and assorted entrail-rakers.

Instead, McDonald’s will provide investors with an outlook for the key components of earnings which, according to Cantalupo “will give a clear assessment of our business”.

In this respect, the burger purveyor is following Coca-Cola and Gillette, both of which recently announced they were ceasing to issue short-term earnings estimates. Such predictions, they declared, constrained their ability to plan for the long term.

With such bluechip precedents, some observers believe this trickle may soon become a torrent which could undermine the ramparts of Wall Street’s obsessive short-termism.

Data sourced from: and The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff