FCB WINS $200 MILLION KFC ADVERTISING ACCOUNT

IPG Shop to Handle Creative Duties for Struggling Chicken Chain

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Yum Brands fast-food chain KFC awarded its creative duties for its $200 million advertising
KFC has selected FCB to handle its work.
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account to Foote Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago.

Mediaedge:cia
KFC gave the account to the Interpublic Group of Cos. shop, which was locked in a duel for account with the chain's incumbent agency, Omnicom Group's BBDO, New York. KFC's media buying and planning duties will remain with WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia, New York.

"Foote Cone & Belding is a creative powerhouse which understands our business," said Gregg Dedrick, who was named the chain's president Sept. 15 following the resignation of Cheryl Bachelder. "Their immediate challenge is to give us a fresh creative approach to help improve sales trends with compelling advertising. I'd like to thank BBDO for the contributions they have made to our company and franchisees."

A new ad campaign for the Louisville, Ky.-chain will break in the fourth quarter.

KFC sales down
Although the BBDO was the incumbent, by most accounts it was FCB's account to lose. The chicken chain invited FCB to pitch the business on the success of the agency's work for Yum Brands sibling Taco Bell. KFC sales have been in the doldrums while Taco Bell has paced same-store sales for the Yum portfolio.

"If FCB doesn't win this, it's because they didn't brush their teeth or take a bath," said one executive close to KFC the day prior to the final presentations. "They'd have to drop their pants to turn off KFC."

Brendan Ryan, CEO of FCB Worldwide, said in a statement that its work for Taco Bell provided the agency an edge. "Our insight-driven advertising for Taco Bell certainly helped us understand KFC's unique advertising needs and deliver a great campaign."

Yum Brands CEO
Yum Brands CEO David Novak was directly involved in this pitch, according to several executives, who said the longtime ad man had shown both agencies videos of past advertising he has admired for the brand. "When a client does that, he's telling you to come back with what [he] likes," said the executive close to KFC.

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