Published on .

Brad Ball,

Senior VP-USA Marketing, McDonald's Corp.

Frankel & co. has been not just a supplier but a partner of McDonald's for 24 years. They have a passion for this brand that goes beyond just getting the assignment done. They think outside of what the assignment is, constantly thinking on behalf of what will be good for McDonald's.

Frankel handles our merchandising responsibilities and our in-store communication responsibilities. But that doesn't mean they don't try to bring to the party other areas-sales promotion, crew motivation, crew incentive things that are important, even if that's not what we've hired them to provide. That's how they approach this business: holistically.

From a day-to-day standpoint, what's been terrific about this relationship has been their ability to do the impossible within the short turnaround time we generally require. We might be in the midst of a big program, and feedback shows something is or isn't happening. The Frankel organization, working with our team, can have new materials to improve communication within three to five days to all our many stores.

From the creative standpoint, they've come up with innovative ways to put different messages in front of our consumers. For instance, there's a very interesting design test going on now that's a throwback to the classic Burma-Shave signs. Also inventive is a new point-of-purchase display that's both inside and outside the glass windows of our stores, so you can read the material both inside and outside the restaurants. Providing unusual ways to get cusomers' attention is very important in the quick-serve restaurant industry today.

Also important are ways to set up and change our signage quickly, requiring little crew time and effort. So Frankel created what we call an "ambiance board" to promote our extra-value meals. Workers can scroll it by spinning a dial to change the featured items for a different daypart. That way, they don't have to take the signs up and down to convert from lunch to dinner specials, for example.

Frankel has been pushing us toward a more visual, interactive, electronic "store of the future," as well. One suggestion is electronically controlled signage a manager could control from a computer in his office, changing menu specials with a few keystrokes. They've also proposed various electronic kiosk ideas so consumers could explore the menu and order from an interactive display. All these concepts are being considered now.

In their campaigns, Frankel seems to take something people feel is old hat and come up with new ways to make it communicate better and stronger. For example, our latest Monopoly promotion was the best we've ever done. The look and feel of the restaurant became a giant Monopoly game. Or look at the promotion in which Frankel turned our restaurants into black-and-white "101 Dalmatians" locations, inside and out. Today, if you walk into one of our restaurants, you see a "Hercules" headquarters, with displays, plates, toys linked to the Disney film.

I'd say Bud Frankel [chairman] and Jim Mack [president] epitomize a company dedicated to the success of McDonald's. They have built their firm to provide the level of service we need.

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