Power Players 2009

McDonald's Mary Dillon Is Ad Age's No. 8 Power Player

Fast Feeder Is Lovin' Recession Thanks to Value Offering and Courting of Moms

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Last Year
THE POWER: After four years at the helm of McDonald's venerable marketing machine, Ms. Dillon has driven share gains and international expansion, and continued to grow the business as the rest of the fast-food industry has slowed and declined. So far, Ms. Dillon has made "I'm Lovin' It" her mission, rolling the campaign out to 118 countries, and working hard to make it relevant everywhere. Herself a mother, Ms. Dillon has taken on her harshest critics, moms, by creating "Moms' Quality Correspondents," championing healthier options for kids, and activity components for kids meals. The menu is also more appealing for women now, with salads, more chicken options, and even lattes.

THE NUMBERS: Capping six consecutive years of same-store sales gains, McDonalds has bested the rest of the industry in 2009 with continued sales improvements and market share gains. Last quarter, McDonald's reported global same-store sales up 5%, and U.S. same-store sales up 4%. According to Technomic, McDonald's share of the burger category has grown from 43.6% to 46.8% since 2003. In measured-media terms, McDonald's spent $814 million in 2009. Over the first half of this year, spending jumped 10.7% to $426 million compared to the same period in 2008.

THE KEY LIEUTENANTS: Neil Golden, chief marketing officer, McDonald's USA, runs U.S. marketing, but reports to Don Thompson, president-McDonald's USA. Other regional marketing heads include: Pierre Woreczek in Europe, Andrew Hipsley in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Dean Barrett in Latin America. Another key figure is Eric Leininger, head of global marketing insights and planning.

THE CHALLENGE: Quite simply, keeping it up. The gains may be harder to come by when consumers bounce back.

THE AGENCIES: Omnicom's DDB, Chicago, is the chain's creative agency of record, and also handles some digital and ethnic work through ancillary agencies like Tribal DDB and Alma DDB. The company also has longstanding relationships with Leo Burnett, Chicago, which handles some of the chain's international business, and Golin Harris for PR. The chain also works with a number of other agencies that handle regional-market business, including Moroch and Arnold.

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