HISPANIC AD PUZZLE FOR MCD'S

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McDonald's Corp. is keeping Hispanic agencies guessing as it deliberates who will pitch for the $8 million to $10 million account pulled in March from Castor Advertising Corp., New York.

Several Hispanic agencies said they hadn't yet heard from McDonald's, including del Rivero Messianu Lintas, Coral Gables, Fla., named by other shops as a strong contender.

"They haven't contacted us," said President-CEO Eduardo del Rivero. "We've heard the rumors like everybody else, but nothing has been transpiring at their end."

The $13 million agency's clients include Chevrolet, Nestle USA, Coca-Cola Foods, and the Hanes and Hillshire Farms divisions of Sara Lee Corp.

Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, is expected to inherit media buying duties for the Hispanic account.

Castor Fernandez, president-chief creative director of the agency that held the account for four years, said he believes McDonald's will choose a small creative shop. He said his agency lacked day-to-day contact with McDonald's executives.

"We didn't have access to the proper people," he said. "The Spanish [department at McDonald's] is run by one person, so when you want a quick response, that may take two weeks. But then you may be judged by the promptness of your work."

Mr. Fernandez added that his agency didn't see eye to eye with McDonald's on certain issues of strategy. The agency wanted to incorporate more of McDonald's general market strategy, including value pricing, with a slight Hispanic "tweak," he said.

Separately, an executive close to McDonald's confirmed it has given DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, a roughly $10 million assignment to promote an upcoming compact disc promotion with EMI Records, New York. All proceeds from the music sales will benefit Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.

McDonald's didn't return phone calls, and DDB Needham wouldn't comment on the account.

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