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Taco Bell Moves Digital Back to DraftFCB

Fast Feeder's Relationship With R/GA Was Short-Lived

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Just more than a year after tapping R/GA as its digital agency of record, Yum Brands' Taco Bell has quietly moved that business back to its lead creative shop, DraftFCB, Irvine, Calif., according to executives familiar with the matter.

Both agencies are owned by Interpublic Group of Cos. Representatives for DraftFCB and R/GA referred calls to Taco Bell, which did not return calls by press time.

R/GA's relationship with the fast feeder was relatively short-lived: The agency was named Taco Bell's digital AOR in August 2009, replacing DraftFCB. At the time, the chain, which has nearly 5,600 restaurants in the U.S., had hired R/GA with the goal of connecting with a younger audience online and through social-media channels, including a revamped website the company called an "entertainment portal."

That redesign, which was completed earlier this year, was likely R/GA's biggest project for the marketer.

Taco Bell's domestic measured media budget last year fell about 4.5% in 2009 to $246.8 million, according to Kantar Media. But the marketer appears to be ramping back up. For the first half of 2010, spending was $155.2 million, up nearly 15% from $135.4 million in same period in 2009.

For DraftFCB, the return of the digital account means it now handles Taco Bell's digital, traditional creative and media-planning duties. WPP's MEC is Taco Bell's media-buying agency.

Draft's wins in 2010 include paint-maker Valspar; customer-relationship-management duties for Volkswagen and Electronic Arts; and retail marketing for Kikkoman and Sony Corp.'s Sony Electronics division. The agency, however, this year lost chunks of its Kraft business, such as Planters to Omnicom Group's Being, a spinoff of TBWA, and Mac & Cheese to MDC Partners' Crispin, Porter & Bogusky.

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