CL Gets in Line at Burger King

Carmichael Lynch could be on Burger King’s list as the fast-food chain continues to work on putting together a stable of shops to handle its $400 million advertising account, sources said.

Client and agency executives were believed to have met toward the end of November, leading to speculation that the Minneapolis agency could pick up projects from the chain, sources said.

A meeting between executives from CL and Miami-based Burger King would not be surprising. Many of Burger King’s current managers are veterans of CL client Northwest Airlines, including CEO John Dasburg, chief marketing officer Chris Clouser, svp of marketing and sales Rick Dow, and Craig Braasch, hired last week as vp of global advertising and promotions.

It was unclear if all of those executives worked directly with CL. (The agency took on Northwest’s $40-50 million as account in 1999.) But they are all “familiar” with its work, one source said.

An agency executive said he had “no knowledge” of a meeting with Burger King. Client officials did not return calls.

Burger King split with Interpublic Group shop McCann-Erickson, New York, earlier this year. The chain is now expected to parcel out projects to a number of agencies.

Sources said IPG is keen to keep the business in the family. CL is one of several IPG shops—including Gotham in New York and The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va.—that are believed to have met with the client since McCann’s ouster.

“David Bell is shopping reels of IPG agencies to keep Burger King within the network,” said one source familiar with the process.

Burger King’s $400 million advertising account covers marketing to adults. Campbell Mithun in Minneapolis continues to handle the chain’s marketing to kids.

Burger King recently tapped McCaffery Ratner Gottlieb & Lane in New York to handle core creative music and radio assignments. That agency had also worked with Clouser and Dow when they were at Northwest.