KFC shifts duties from Y&R to BBDO

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Fast-food giant KFC is shifting creative duties on its estimated $175 million account from longtime agency WPP Group's Y&R Advertising to BBDO Worldwide. Y&R's the Media Edge will continue with media duties on the account.

BBDO Worldwide currently handles Pizza Hut which, like KFC Corp., is owned by Tricon Global Restaurants. A third restaurant chain in Tricon's group, Taco Bell, recently shifted its account from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., to FCB Worldwide, San Franciso.

Y&R, which has been KFC's agency since 1977, was blindsided by the news, which they learned of the morning of Dec. 21, according to an individual familiar with the situation. The Louisville, Ky.-based KFC gave Y&R its contractual 90 days notice, while also naming BBDO as "interim" agency.

KFC spent about $169 million in measured media in 1999 and $134 million in the first eight months of this year, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

Although there had been rumblings of a possible review earlier this year, Y&R executives believed they were secure in the account after meeting with Tricon CEO David Novak this July. Advertising Age reported July 17 that Mr. Novak met with Y&R President-Chief Creative Officer Jim Ferguson and approved a new campaign for KFC. At the time, BBDO Chairman Phil Dusenberry denied that all three Tricon accounts would be consolidated at the agency, calling the rumors, "blatantly, patently untrue" and adding, "It's never been discussed. It's not going to happen."

-Wendy Davis

Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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