Even as consultancies continue to encroach on ad agencies' traditional assignments from marketers, agencies are increasingly fighting for turf that once belonged to consultants.
Publicis.Sapient, in partnership with global consulting and technology services company Capgemini, has beat out Accenture for an assignment to help McDonald's create the restaurant experience of the future, according to Publicis Groupe.
The Publicis.Sapient and Capgemini team went up against "large consulting and technology players including Accenture" in a year-long pitch for the fast-feeder, according to an internal note written by Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun, which was obtained by Ad Age. Representatives from Accenture and McDonald's were not immediately available for comment.
"We will be part of the team deploying and maintaining their restaurant and digital technology solutions, including kiosk ordering, web applications, mobile order and pay, that help put the customer at the center of McDonalds' business," Sadoun wrote in the internal email. "We will also help create innovative digital services internally for employees, in their kitchen and store operations, and for their customers through table service and home delivery."
Through the multi-year agreement, Publicis.Sapient and Capgemini will provide global IT, digital and consulting services to McDonald's.
Skirmishes between agencies and consultants for major brands' work are growing more common as each side vies to make itself indispensible to its clients and as technology increases the overlap between their spheres. Four consultancies appeared on Ad Age's latest annual ranking of the 10 largest agency companies in the world.
The win also comes a week after Publicis' Leo Burnett was selected by McDonald's to handle the brand's global 2018 FIFA World Cup sponsorship. Publicis Group also handles advertising for McDonald's in more than 30 countries around the world, such as the U.K., Germany and Brazil.
"McDonald's has launched an assertive strategy to transform its business through innovation; we embrace the opportunity to put digital innovation at the core of their business," said Paul Hermelin, chairman and CEO of Capgemini in a statement.
According to an earlier report from Crain's Chicago Business, about 100 McDonald's tech workers will become employees of Capgemini, which plans to add 500 jobs in Chicago, mostly in tech.
McDonald's has been busy on the agency front as of late. Just last month, Ad Age reported that the fast-feeder was shaking up its U.S. marketing model and cutting costs by greatly reducing the number of creative agencies that work for cooperative franchise groups. As of late July, McDonald's and its franchisees picked seven agency groups to handle local advertising for the chain in the U.S., Ad Age reported. Previously, about 60 agencies handled local advertising for nearly 200 cooperative groups across the country.
Last August, McDonald's selected Omnicom Group to handle U.S. creative after a four-month review. The resulting dedicated McDonald's agency, We Are Unlimited, includes embedded team members from companies such as The Marketing Store (TMS), Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe and The New York Times' T Brand Studio.
McDonald's was the 33rd largest U.S. advertiser last year, with spending up 1.5% to nearly $1.46 billion, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.
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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article identified HCL as the name of the team of Publicis.Sapient and Capgemini. HCL was actually another competitor in the pitch for McDonald's business, according to the memo by Publicis Group CEO Arthur Sadoun.