McDonald’s has concluded its latest agency review, hiring Huge to handle global digital design and user experience work, according to two parties with direct knowledge of the matter.
It’s a major win for the IPG network, which will soon open its first Chicago office to serve the fast-food giant.
McDonald’s declined to comment on the news. A Huge spokesperson deferred to the client, confirming only that the agency has started hiring staff for its newest location in the John Hancock Center at 875 N. Michigan Ave., which is also where FCB Chicago’s headquarters are located.
The fast-food chain has made a series of changes in its agency lineup over the past year-plus, most prominently consolidating its creative marketing business with Omnicom, which launched a dedicated agency, We Are Unlimited, last November. In August, the chain also hired Publicis.Sapient and tech company Capgemini over Accenture and HCL for a multiyear “digital innovation” remit after consolidating its network of approximately 60 local agencies across the U.S. to an estimated seven such groups.
Huge will collaborate with the McDonald’s digital team working across strategic and creative elements of its customer experience, from web design and interfaces to apps and in-store elements.
Sources said the digital review flew under the radar, with its last round pitting Huge against Accenture Interactive’s design and innovation division Fjord. The work in question had purportedly been handled by Chicago-area design firm Method, though a representative declined to comment.
We Are Unlimited has also not responded to a request for comment. Huge will almost certainly collaborate with that team in some form despite a clear separation between the creative marketing and digital design divisions of McDonald’s business.
According to the latest numbers from Kantar Media, McDonald’s spent approximately $786 million on paid media in the U.S. last year and $196 million during the first quarter of 2017. Global spending totals are not available at this time.