It was bound to happen after the appointment of Brit Steve Easterbrook to head McDonald’s but the fast food giant, now showing some signs of revival after a moribund few years, is finally reviewing its creative account. In North America for starters but likely to be the rest of the world too.
McDonald’s, as is the way these days, has asked the three biggest holding companies – WPP, Omnicom and WPP to pitch for the business. McDonald’s spends about $1.5bn on media ads in the US. Media, through Omnicom’s OMD is not thought to be involved. McDonald’s currently uses Omicom’s DDB and Publicis’ Leo Burnett for creative.
McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wahl, who joined the company in 2014, told Ad Age: “We’re expecting that our new agency resource is going to work with us on our strategy and content creation for all our customer facing efforts..to be the modern and progressive company that we want to be, we have to create more immersive consumer engagement. We need the support of an omnichannel integrated agency resource that can support our marketing efforts today and then prepare us also as the future continues to evolve.”
Wahl says the company wants to continue with its ‘I’m lovin’ it’ tag line, which won’t be music to the ears of the agencies who didn’t come up with it. The facts are that people haven’t been for the past decade or more, especially outside America.
Consultant on the pitch is former Saatchi & Saatchi and Aegis executive Simon Francis’ Flock. Flock has worked on some big bits of of pitch business, the Dixons UK pitch a couple of years ago and various projects for Diageo. But McDonald’s creative is global premier league and would have been expected to go to an American specialist.
For all the ‘omnichannel’ stuff Wahl refers to, what McDonald’s really needs is an inspiring good ol’ ad campaign, like Wendy’s ‘Where’s The Beef?’ or even Burger King’s eccentric ‘The King’ through Crispin Porter. You can distribute your message hyper-efficiently but if it fails to resonate you’re just wasting money.