In that spring of '89, Burger King had replaced N W Ayer, New York, with D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising on its $215 million account. Burger King assigned DMB&B its "brand image" efforts and Saatchi its price and product promotion business.
That fall, the two agencies co-produced a new campaign around the tagline, "Sometimes you've gotta break the rules."
Other advertising followed, with DMB&B gradually becoming the dominant agency; by 1993, Saatchi's sole responsibility was kids' advertising.
There are lessons to be learned from Burger King's experience, said David Hale, a former DMB&B creative director who helped develop "break the rules."
"Splitting agencies works better in theory than in practice. It should work, but it hasn't," said Mr. Hale, founder of the Resistance, a creative consultancy.
One problem with Burger King, he said, was that each agency developed a good relationship with a different client marketing executive, one of whom reported to the other. That made it harder for both agencies to get their work approved.
But Gary Langstaff, a Burger King exec VP-marketing at the time and now an independent consultant, insists a dual-agency system can "absolutely work" provided a marketer can establish "clearly defined roles and responsibilities, managed strategies and a professional relationship with the agencies."
Ultimately, a management transition led to another review in the fall of 1993, with Ammirati Puris Lintas winning the whole account early the next year.