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Burger King Shifts $300 Million Media Business to Starcom

Move Consolidates Buying and Planning at Publicis Shop

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Burger King Corp. has shifted its $300 million media-buying business from WPP's Mindshare to Publicis' Starcom without a review. The move will also consolidate planning and buying within Starcom, the company said in a statement.

According to the statement, "Burger King Corp. and Mindshare, the company's media agency of record, have mutually decided to end their business relationship. BKC appreciates the partnership with Mindshare over the past seven years."

Mindshare, which referred calls for comment to the client, will continue to work with BK during a transition period, the company added. Starcom's Tapestry unit, which began working with BK in 2008, will remain BK's multicultural media agency of record in the U.S.

Though it's not immediately clear what prompted the decision to switch agencies, an executive familiar with the situation said that Mindshare proactively resigned the account when talks to take on the planning business didn't pan out.

BK's planning duties were handled by former U.S. creative agency, CP&B, an MDC agency that recently lost the account to Dentsu's McGarryBowen after a review.

BKC's measured media spending in the U.S. has shrunk over the past three years. According to Kantar Media, it doled out $301 million on domestic measured media in 2010, down from $308 million in 2009 and $327 million in 2008.

The most recent shakeup is no surprise given all the changes the company has made under new leadership from 3G Capital, an investment firm that bought the company last fall. Exec VP-Global CMO Natalia Franco left the company in February and North America CMO Mike Kappitt departed in December. The company is still operating without an official CMO.

In addition to the U.S. creative agency review, Ad Age reported in April that BK was conducting creative reviews in the U.K. and Spain. At the time, Miguel Piedra, VP-global communications at Burger King, said in an email to Ad Age : "The company employs a localized marketing communications approach throughout its regions worldwide. Advertising agencies are selected based on the needs of individual markets and are managed by local marketing teams."

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