With its recent win of Domino's, Crispin Porter & Bogusky works for two of the top 10 fast-food advertisers: The pizza purveyor spent $152 million in 2006, and Burger King $285 million. But strictly speaking, both chains compete for share of stomach -- particularly those of ravenous young males -- and some see that as a whopper of a conflict.
"Does Crispin play by different rules?" groused a former executive at Grey Worldwide, which represented the pizza chain for six years, ending in 1997. At the time, the executive said, Domino's had a policy about its agency working for other quick-service chains.
If so, that's apparently not the case anymore. Today, Domino's is wondering what all the fuss is about. "They sell burgers, we sell pizza. It's two entirely different concepts, two entirely different products," said spokeswoman Dana Harville.
The fast feeders are also closer allies than is commonly known. Domino's Chairman-CEO David A. Brandon is a member of Burger King's board, and the companies share sponsorship of a Nascar team.
Crispin declined to comment, as did Burger King, calling it a "nonissue" for the company. "It does make you wonder," said a person close to JWT (the agency's WPP Group sibling, Y&R, lost Burger King to Crispin). "But if anyone has a right to complain, it's Burger King."
Surely not all fast-food giants would be so amenable to this kind of situation. A person familiar with McDonald's said the company's agency would be required to ask permission to add another fast feeder and would almost certainly be told no. "It wouldn't be a good idea to ask," the person said.