MCD'S AD AGENCIES WARILY VIEW MANAGEMENT SWITCH NEW TOP DOMESTIC MARKETING VP HAS LED SHIFTS IN BIG MAC'S SHOPS

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The shuffle of senior marketing management by McDonald's Corp. last week is likely to keep the fast-food leader's agencies on alert as the chain looks to reinvigorate its stalled domestic sales.

In a move that had been speculated for months, Brad Ball was named senior VP-marketing for McDonald's USA, to oversee all domestic marketing efforts (AA, July 29); he reports directly to Edward Rensi, president-CEO of McDonald's USA.

INT'L POST FOR GREEN

Mr. Ball's former boss, Senior VP-Marketing David Green, becomes senior marketing officer of McDonald's International, reporting to International President-CEO James Cantalupo. Chief Marketing Officer Paul Schrage, 61, will retire within a year.

While no immediate changes are anticipated, Mr. Ball, 46, is credited with shaking up McDonald's marketing philosophy since his arrival last year by shifting business among McDonald's stable of agencies.

He awarded the $75 million Arch Deluxe rollout campaign to Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, and has fostered a competitive environment in which no assignment is a given. Other agencies include Leo Burnett USA, DDB Needham Worldwide and Burrell Communications, all Chicago; Del Rivero, Messianu, Coral Gables, Fla.; and several regional shops.

The changes came with the promotion of Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer Jack Greenberg to chairman of McDonald's USA. His appointment effectively pushed down a notch Mr. Rensi, who'd previously reported directly to McDonald's corporate Chairman-CEO Michael Quinlan.

BATTLING BK, WENDY'S

The moves are part of an overall effort by McDonald's to shore up its 11,000 U.S. restaurants, which have seen sales slip against competitors Burger King Corp. and Wendy's International for five consecutive quarters.

The changes decentralize McDonald's marketing structure to "allow more focus on the two major areas of our business: the U.S. and international," a spokesman said.

More immediately, they hand over authority for all U.S. advertising and planning to Mr. Ball, who arrived at McDonald's from Davis, Ball & Colombatto, Los Angeles, only a year ago.

"Brad now has full responsibility aligned with Ed Rensi," the McDonald's spokesman said. "It provides a tight alignment between the U.S. management structure and the marketing structure."

One agency executive said the new structure boosts marketing's stature. "Marketing is now part of the executive committee, which it never had been before, and we believe that's good," he said.

There are no plans to change agencies, the spokesman said.

"The key point on Brad is that he's worked for nearly a quarter-century on McDonald's local and regional advertising and held every position from field account executive to co-president of an agency," the spokesman added.

Most agencies contacted expressed a wait-and-see posture on the changes, although several pointed out that Mr. Ball's prominence at McDonald's was already well-established and few-if any-policy changes were expected.

"We're not anticipating any change in our relationship with McDonald's," said a spokeswoman for DDB Needham.

CONSISTENT APPROACH

For Mr. Green, the challenge is to run a consistent thread through the marketing of McDonald's 7,000-plus units in 93 countries.

Mr. Green, 51, is credited with pioneering McDonald's online marketing efforts.

Messrs. Ball and Green will continue to work together coordinating worldwide marketing projects, such as Olympics sponsorship and the company's new promotional alliance with Walt Disney Co.

Contributing: Mark Gleason, Pat Sloan.

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