Deutsch Gets Special Order

NEW YORK — Burger King has added Deutsch to its stable of shops, giving the Interpublic Group agency what sources said is a major creative assignment for the fast-food chain’s new value menu.

Spending is upward of $50 million, sources said. Burger King’s total U.S. ad budget is $300 million.

Deutsch/LA is handling the assignment, awarded without a review after the client contacted senior executives in the East Coast office in early March, sources said.

The client confirmed that it was working with Deutsch but declined to give any other details.

“Value” fare has become a hot button in the fast-food industry, with BK, McDonald’s and others trying to emulate the success of Wendy’s, which has had a 99-cent menu for more than a decade. BK has marketed individual value items, but the Deutsch campaign will tout a dedicated 99-cent menu expected to launch in the fall.

The client has gone through a number of agency changes in the past 18 months. In January 2001, McCann-Erickson took over the general ad account after beating out finalists including the incumbent, then-Lowe Lintas, Grey and Campbell-Mithun. The latter two shops also competed for Burger King’s kids business, which Campbell-Mithun won.

Nine months later, McCann lost BK. Since then, creative has been parceled out among several shops, including D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, which has local franchisee advertising. The agencies are supervised by Len Fink of Amoeba, Santa Monica, Calif., who created the chain’s “At BK, You Got It” campaign featuring Shaquille O’Neal. Fink works exclusively for BK as its creative chief.

MediaVest in New York handles the network-TV media buying, while Media First, also in New York, has print and cable-TV buying.

The BK business is at least the third account Deutsch has landed this year without a review. In January, Revlon consolidated its $140 million business at Deutsch’s New York headquarters, and in February, the agency picked up the $100 million MCI branded-products account.