Needham will try to grab some Big Mac media, too

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DDB Needham Worldwide will try to wrest some of McDonald's Corp.'s $300 million-plus national media budget away from Leo Burnett USA during the upcoming creative shoot-out between the agencies.

DDB Needham will take advantage of its creative presentation to the leading fast-feeder--expected this week--to pitch the media account as well, said executives familiar with the situation.

Burnett was stung last summer when McDonald's reprimanded the agency for a multimillion-dollar media miscalculation. However, Burnett executives "have long patched things up with McDonald's about that," said an executive at a regional McDonald's shop.

PITCHING ONCORE SYSTEM

DDB Needham will be pitching its OnCore system, developed by its Optimum Media unit. OnCore identifies a show's most loyal viewers, shown by Optimum research to pay more attention to commercials--and thus to be more likely to buy the products or services advertised.

Optimum planners and buyers use that information to target certain programs, with demographics desired by the advertiser. The idea is to create the most efficient buying possible.

Both DDB Needham and Burnett declined to comment about the Chicago agencies' upcoming presentations to McDonald's.

One executive close to Burnett Media said that agency is "quite confident they will keep the media assignment as is."

Besides having a close relationship with McDonald's, Burnett is also not resting on tried and true media ideas.

BURNETT TAPS NIELSEN

The agency has quietly started getting respondent-level audience data from Nielsen Media Research, the Myers Report said last week.

The goal of Burnett Media and some other media players is to get minute-by-minute ratings data, likely to be available from Nielsen next year. Those types of data will enhance an agency's capability to buy time more efficiently; the development of such a plan is called media optimization. Media optimization is how media is planned and bought in much of Europe, and some big U.S. marketers want their shops to set up similar plans.

One reason Burnett Media is so interested in an optimization plan is that client Procter & Gamble Co. has stipulated the development of such a plan will be a major factor in determining who wins its $1 billion media consolidation.

Copyright July 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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