Anja Carroll

McDonald's Corp.

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Photo: David Czuba
McDonald's USA Media Director Anja Carroll has her plate full, managing the fast feeder's $810 million in measured ad spending.

In 2008, that means supporting a Summer Olympics sponsorship. And there's the usual stream of new products, including Southern-style chicken sandwiches and the hotly anticipated McCafé concept.

McDonald's is also combating slower-than-usual same-store sales and stepped-up competition from rivals such as Burger King Corp.

Charged with the continued success of McDonald's U.S. advertising, Ms. Carroll must make sure the strategy aligns with the company's "Plan to Win" program. Her media plan has supported the dollar menu and major product launches including snack wraps and premium coffee.

One of her biggest challenges is choosing the right mix of media.

"Everyone has a connection to McDonald's, and everyone has their favorite TV show, magazine, website, etc.," says Ms. Carroll, 39. "I work with a team that develops the vision for marrying these two everyday pleasures together by balancing media choices that are right for the brand and relevant to our customers."

The media veteran joined McDonald's in 2000, managing kids and ethnic media, and was named to her current post a year later.

Ms. Carroll works with the company's 30 ad agencies, four media-buying agencies and 22 regional marketing teams. Her share of the McDonald's marketing world has the largest online component, or about 10% of the domestic spending, says Mary Dillon, global chief marketing officer at McDonald's Corp.

"In an ever-changing media environment, Anja continues to find the right opportunities to reach our customers and break through the clutter," says Peter Sterling, VP-marketing, McDonald's USA. "Whether it's mass media, targeted media or digital opportunities like the recent 'Who What Wear' segment on MySpace or a very successful rock-band download program, Anja's ability to keep McDonald's contemporary and relevant for our customers is at the very heart of everything she does."

Mr. Sterling adds: "Anja's insight and ability to develop and execute McDonald's media-planning and -buying strategies have been a key driver of our business performance in the last five years, which has resulted in unprecedented sales and guest-count increases for the company and our franchisees."
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