Incumbent Lowe Lintas fails to make BK's finalist list

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Burger King Corp., Miami, made official its split with Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide, New York, as the No. 2 burger chain excluded the incumbent from the list of finalists for the creative portion of its $400 million account. Making it to the final round are Campbell Mithun, Minneapolis, and New York agencies Grey Worldwide and McCann-Erickson Worldwide. Both Burger King marketing management and members of the National Franchisee Association participated in the review screening.

"This was not unexpected," said a Lowe Lintas spokesman, reacting to the announcement. "We wish them luck." Regarding the possibility of layoffs, "Any cuts will be modest," the spokesman said, declining to provide more details. Some 50 staffers are estimated to work on the account. Lowe Lintas loses an estimated $90 million in compensation, including media duties on Burger King kids meals. Starcom MediaVest Group's MediaVest unit handles the rest of Burger King media buying and planning.

"The primary focus of this review is to engage an agency that will, as a business partner, seek insightful consumer understanding and provide breakthrough ways of reaching our customers," said Mikel Durham, president of Burger King North America. "This is not just about a new campaign, but rather an entirely new way of approaching our business and consumers." Each finalist will create rough-cut advertising for testing. The advertising will undergo focus group and in-market testing.

Lowe Lintas will continue its work under the current contract until its successor is chosen, a decision expected early next year. "They will continue to put new advertising on air until we have another agency in place," a Burger King spokeswoman said. New TV spots for the "Rugrats in Paris" movie promotion have already broken, and the agency is said to be in production for a new Pokemon promotion later in the year.

Copyright November 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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