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McDonald's new agency model

News, 10 October 2016

NEW YORK: McDonald's, the restaurant chain, believes the new agency model that will emerge from consolidating its advertising business with Omnicom Group can move it towards marketing at the "speed of now".

Deborah Wahl, McDonald's SVP/CMO, discussed this subject at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB) 2016 MIXX Conference.

"To survive and thrive into tomorrow, we must future-proof ourselves, and market at the speed of now," she said. (For more, read Warc's exclusive report: McDonald's digital priorities: People not platforms.)

"We have to be unafraid to change what we do and how we do it, because, believe me, our consumers will be unafraid to leave us behind if we don't."

In pursuit of this goal, Omnicom was announced as the winner of the pitch for McDonald's ad business in late August, and will build a new agency to service McDonald's.

And the holding group responded to McDonald's pitch with a team featuring "hundreds of people" drawn from nearly 20 of its agencies.

"We chose Omnicom as our new agency partner because they designed an agency with human intelligence as its core," Wahl said.

"And we believe in the power of human behaviour so much that, in our recent agency consolidation, we wanted to really break the mould, and look at something different."

The need for a fresh agency structure, she continued, reflects the changing habits of consumers – who undoubtedly value consistency, but will abandon a brand "the minute it doesn't fit their needs," according to McDonald's CMO.

"Only creating a brand-new model for an agency seems to allow a full integration. So, in this model, there's no above or below the line," Wahl said. "It's all omnichannel. People are not defined by the channels they use."

Among the main tasks set for its fledgling agency will be to operate with a "unified voice", and to move at a more rapid speed than ever before.

"Our agency is designed as a flat organisation that can efficiently deploy a single tone of voice and enable unified, real-time marketing," Wahl said.

A similar emphasis on transformation is also reshaping the marketing operations within McDonald's, too. "We're also completely reorganising internally. We have to completely rethink [marketing] in a channel-agnostic way," she said.

Data sourced from Warc