McDonald’s media: Omnicom and Publicis in global head-to-head battle

McDonald’s revealed in October that it was shifting from a single global media agency to a small roster of preferred local suppliers.

This was never going to be good news for Omnicom’s OMD, which has held the business exclusively for 15 years. That’s a very good run, especially against the backdrop of ongoing media trust and transparency issues.

It’s now ten months since the review was announced and McDonald’s hasn’t opened it out much: the fast food giant has decided to keep its media account within the same two groups that work on its creative business, Omnicom and Publicis.

OMD and Starcom will pitch against each other for McDonald’s business in different markets around the world, according to Campaign US. So far, it’s neck- and-neck, with OMD winning Germany and Starcom taking the business in France.

Starcom’s involvement rewards Publicis Groupe’s perseverance with McDonald’s. Publicis recently formed a relationship with consultancy Capgemini to work on data-based marketing for the brand, and this seems to have paid dividends in the media review.

All the while OMD kept the media account to itself, Omnicom was tightening its grip on the creative business. In 2016 DDB won the account from Leo Burnett in the US and launched a dedicated full-service agency called We Are Unlimited work with McDonald’s. Another Omnicom agency, TBWA, also handles McDonald’s in some markets, including France.

Fighting the Publicis creative corner, Leo Burnett has hung on in the UK and is doing a good job, even though there must be strong pressure coming from the ambitious adam&eveDDB.

McDonald’s media review announcement came shortly after McDonald’s hired Mondelez’ Bob Rupczynski as global vice president of media from Mondolez. As always, the claim was the review was not about cost, but about “making marketing dollars work harder through more efficient media spending and better connections with customers.”

Expect an ongoing round of results as McDonald’s chooses between Starcom and OMD around the world. Most of the major markets — including the US, the UK, China, Latin and South America, Australia and Canada — are still up for grabs.

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About Emma Hall

Emma Hall
Emma Hall is the former London Editor of Ad Age, where she covered European marketing advertising, digital and media stories. She has written for newspapers including the Financial Times, The Guardian, The Times and the Telegraph, and was previously a section editor at Campaign. Emma started her career in New York as a researcher for a biography of Keith Richards.
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