QSRs jump on creative agency carousel

Jan. 8, 2014 | by Alicia Kelso

Less than two weeks into the New Year and a handful of QSRs are already shaking up their creative accounts.

Earlier this week, Burger King dropped lead agency Mother, which has been its agency-of-record since February 2013. Ad Age reports that the move is a result of "creative differences." Mother's campaigns for BK included the Satisfies introduction in September.

The company launched a search for a lead ad agency of record this week.

Burger King seems to have agency commitment issues as of late. Ad Agency says the chain named Horizon as its media agency a few weeks ago. Incumbent Starcom had the business since 2011. Additionally, Alison Brod was named as its PR agency in March.

All of these hires follow Burger King's heavily reported split with longtime agency – and King mascot brainchild – Crispin Porter + Boguski in 2011. After that, the chain named McGarry Bowen as its agency, but that lasted less than six months before it moved to a patchwork of agencies, including Mother and Pitch.

Also this week, Burger King named Code and Theory as its digital agency of record, according to MediaPost. Code and Theory is an independent agency based out of New York City.

Other chains kick start new marketing endeavors

Burger King isn't the only QSR testing the creative waters to kick off the year. Church's Chicken announced Wednesday that Boulder, Colo.-based Made will be its new agency of record.

Made will be responsible for campaign work on behalf of Church's that includes TV, radio, digital, point-of-sale, and packaging that will "support Church's while helping to forge a deeper connection between the highly-recognized brand and its restaurant guests," according to a release. Made's strategic partner, Grupo Gallegos, based in Huntington Beach, Calif., will be handling the multicultural marketplace for Church's. Steve Davis, Church's chief concept officer, directed the search.

"The process was rigorous, expedient and inclusive," he said. "Church's key constituents including brand owners, executive leadership members as well as franchisees participated in the review. We saw some outstanding work from many agencies but at the end of the day, it was clear that the team from Made had a clear understanding of the values and vision for the Church's brand."

The new work from Made will launch in the spring 2014.

Also this week, Whataburger tapped McGarrah Jessee as its new media agency after a four-month search. The Austin, Texas-based company, which has handled creative duties for Whataburger since 2003, will head up all media planning and buying for the chain.

"Whataburger customers are better connected at home and on the go than ever before and we have an opportunity to evolve with them in the digital space," John Lee, marketing and innovation director for Whataburger, said in a news release. "McJ showed us a clear vision for that evolution, as well as developing innovative plans for our offline marketing."

And, though not news facilitated by a QSR brand directly, the addition of Tony Malcolm as executive creative director on DDB Chicago's McDonald's account should have just as many implications. The Chicago Tribune reports that Malcolm joined the agency after spending nine years at Leo Burnett's London office, where he also headed up the McDonald's account.

Leo Burnett's "Just Passing By" campaign for McDonald's UK won a Cannes Gold Lion for "creative effectiveness" in 2011.

"This is a flagship piece of business for the agency and it's obviously one of the world's most iconic brands," Paul Gunning, CEO of DDB Chicago, told the Tribune. "Having a leader that has worked on McDonald's for so long, and whose work is held in such high esteem, is just a huge coup for us."

DDB has been the agency of record for McDonald's since 1997.

Read more marketing news.

Photo provided by Wikimedia.

Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion , Online / Mobile / Social

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with FastCasual.com, QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.
View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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