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McDonald's Corp. reorganized its national marketing team as part of its strategy to divide marketing and advertising more evenly between national and local initiatives.

"It goes without saying that we are taking this reorganization to . . . get decisions closer to the marketplace," said Brad Ball, senior VP-marketing for U.S. operations.

The marketing changes came just days before McDonald's biannual convention, starting today in Orlando. At the meeting, the chain's 10-year exclusive marketing alliance with Walt Disney Co. will be a major topic, along with new initiatives to improve the quality of the restaurant giant's food.


Mr. Ball told Advertising Age there are no changes in ad agency relationships, nor is there any increase in ad spending associated with the changes. McDonald's spent an estimated $600 million on advertising last year. DDB Needham Worldwide and Leo Burnett USA, both Chicago, currently handle McDonald's ads.

Mr. Ball's own security in his job had been questioned by McDonald's watchers over the past year, in light of the chain's high-profile marketing missteps -- including its "Campaign 55" promotion and the disappointing results of the Arch Deluxe line.

A McDonald's spokesman said there is no diminution of Mr. Ball's responsibilities, and no layoffs are associated with the changes at this time.

Now reporting to Mr. Ball are VP Roy Bergold, a 30-year McDonald's veteran, as head of creative; Peter Sterling, also a company insider, as the senior finance executive for the marketing department; and David Baney, a veteran of archrival Burger King Corp., who will be responsible for calendar planning for national marketing initiatives.


Five executives will report to Mr. Baney, including Bruce Smith, overseeing worldwide media planning; R.J. Milano, in charge of calendar planning for family, kids and adult programs; Neil Perry, in charge of marketing services, which include merchandising for the chain's motor sports relationships and alliances with Wal-Mart Stores, gas stations and convenience stores; and Dan Pelletiere, responsible for the corporation's relationship with the franchisees' national advertising group, the body that decides how national dollars will be allocated.


The fifth executive, Dean Barrett, a 20-year McDonald's veteran, will hold a new position overseeing global marketing alliances. These will include sports, to be headed by Jackie Woodward, and the team responsible for the Disney partnership.

The Disney team is being expanded, Mr. Ball said.

Also, Mary Miller, who had been assistant VP-family marketing, moves to the new post of assistant VP-licensing for the global brand.

A new position yet to be filled will involve overseeing brand strategy as it relates to food products, Mr. Ball said.

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