Burger King Beefs up Agency Roster With Mother, David

Chain's Senior VP-Marketing Says 'There's Not One Main Agency'

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Burger King is adding two new agencies -- Mother , New York and a new Ogilvy affiliate agency called David -- to its U.S. mix, while giving its kids' agency, Pitch, the ability to add more business beyond strictly kids' work.

The move comes about six months after Alex Macedo, senior VP-North American marketing at Burger King, and Flavia Faugeres, global CMO, joined the company. "As Flavia and I joined the company and learned more about the brand, we saw that we have a lot of exciting projects to execute to turn the brand around," said Mr. Macedo.

Mr. Macedo said that McGarryBowen's relationship with the chain will not be affected, though because of the new roster setup, there won't be a lead creative agency. "It's not the traditional model," he said. "There's not one main agency that the others have to follow.

"The scope of the work has evolved, and there are so many new engagements that we're planning," Mr. Macedo said. "We have a great, very different roster with brilliant minds and very creative people to help us in all the big things we have to do to help the Burger King brand in the future."

Pitch, which has been picking up other work for the fast feeder over the past year, in addition to its kids-marketing account, is being "upgraded" to be part of the chain's general-market roster.

David, named for Ogilvy founder David Ogilvy, is an agency launched this month with offices in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires; a U.S. outpost is slated to open in New York. Ogilvy & Mather handles Burger King's marketing in Brazil.

The appointments of both Mother and David are a sign that Burger King has chosen to stay close to a select number of shops behind the scenes. It had reached out to Mother and Ogilvy to pitch its overall marketing business that McGarryBowen won last year, but Ogilvy was conflicted because of its global Yum Brands business, and Mother declined.

"We feel it's important to have different agencies with different profiles and creative backgrounds," said Mr. Macedo. He added that the company is seeking a multicultural agency for mainly promotional work and that McGarryBowen will continue to do Hispanic marketing.

Executives from McGarryBowen did not comment on the moves, while executives from David couldn't be immediately reached.

Andrew Deitchman, partner and co-founder of Mother , New York, told Ad Age via email: "Earlier this year, BK asked us to pitch for the AOR business. We were excited and flattered but declined in order to properly manage our growth. ... This gives us the chance to take a real leadership role and add value in the areas that can disproportionately impact our client's business, and push category conventions, without having the burden of that client's entire scope of work."

Jon Banks, principal at Pitch, said: "I think a lot of brands are seeing value in a roster-type arrangement, and it's a developing trend for what people are looking to do. The best way to add value is to have the right kind of roster."

It's unclear at this point which agencies will be handling which aspects of the business, as planning is in the early stages. Mr. Macedo added that though the scope of marketing has changed, ad spending likely won't increase.

Burger King, which was acquired by Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital in October 2010, went through a series of agency changes in 2011. It switched creative agencies, from CP&B to McGarryBowen, moved its $300 million media account to Starcom without a review, and moved PR agencies from Edelman to Coyne PR. WPP's Wunderman handles merchandising and promotions.

Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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CORRECTION: The original subhead of this article quoted the CEO of Burger King as saying 'There's Not One Main Agency.' The quote is actually attributable to Senior VP-North American Marketing Alex Macedo.

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