DDB WINS MCDONALD'S 'DINER INSIDE' ACCOUNT

Beats Ogilvy for Advertising Duties for Test Unit

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In a surprise move, McDonald's Corp. said it awarded advertising duties for its McDonald's with a Diner Inside concept to DDB Worldwide, Chicago, after a hotly contested review.

McDonald's will open six Diners in the Evansville, Ind., market after a testing a unit in Kokomo, Ind., that insiders say has been wildly successful.

1950s-style diner
DDB's assigment will be to handle a media test in that market for the restaurant, which houses both a McDonald's and 1950s-style diner. Billings for the effort are likely to be less than $1 million.

The Omnicom Group shop

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is also McDonald's lead agency and was considered by most observers as the underdog against finalist WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, Chicago.

At the start of the week, rumors swirled that Ogilvy had been awarded the business, even though its global network handles overseas advertising for competitor KFC, the Yum Brands fast-food chicken chain.

McDonald's has long frowned on its roster agencies handling competitors, even in other countries, and Ogilvy may have been unwilling to give up the larger KFC account, despite gaining a foot in McDonald's door.

Connection with VP
Early on Ogilvy was said to have an advantage because Marlena Peleo-Lazar, McDonald's vice president of advertising, had worked at the agency before joining the Golden Arches. Another edge was that Ogilvy was the only non-roster agency invited to pitch the business against DDB and two early contenders, children's shop Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, and field shop Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston.

Had Ogilvy won, it would have marked one of the rare times in McDonald's history that a new agency joined the roster.

Consultants managing the pitch wanted to ensure that diner advertising would have its own identity separate from that of McDonald's despite the duality of the concept, according to executives close to the marketer.

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