McDonald’s Launches Creative Review, Moves to Consolidate U.S. Advertising Business

DDB, Leo Burnett have shared duties on main account

McDonald's is reviewing its creative advertising business in the U.S.

A spokesperson for the restaurant chain told Adweek on Monday: "We are committed to modernizing McDonald's, including how we create customer-facing content. While we value the relationships we have with our current agencies, and will only ever work with companies that share our values, we recognize the agency world is evolving. As such, McDonald's USA is exploring solutions that will provide us with greater integrated strategic thinking, creativity and brand consistency across all our consumer touch points."

The spokesperson said the matter of whether McDonald's will choose a single agency to handle its U.S. creative work moving forward remains to be determined. "We're seeking the best recommended approach from the holding companies so we'll learn of the recommendations through the RFP process, which will guide us in the decision making," the rep said. 

According to sources with direct knowledge of the matter, the chain does seek, at the very least, to consolidate its U.S.-based business with a single holding company. Several of the world's largest such companies received the RFP. 

Omnicom's DDB and Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett both currently play key roles on the business. Just over six months after choosing the latter agency to promote its All-Day Breakfast, the global fast-food leader now wants to streamline the lineup serving its biggest market. The announcement follows positive financial news for the chain, which exceeded earnings for the first quarter of 2016 on the strength of a sales boost attributed, at least in part, to its newfound focus on breakfast items.

McDonald's remains one of the world's largest advertisers despite making "large cutbacks" to its overall marketing budget in 2015, as described by Kantar Media.

The chain chose Burnett to help launch its rebranding campaign after an internal 2014 review that pitted the shop (which had already been working on the Happy Meal portion of the business) against DDB. That review came several months after one-time Chrysler CMO Deborah Wahl became McDonald's new CMO in January 2014.

Representatives for DDB and Burnett did not immediately respond to Adweek's requests for comment.