McDonald’s China Sends Media Planning Responsibilities to Publicis Groupe

By Erik Oster 

McDonald’s has selected Publicis Groupe as its new media planning partner in China, following a review conducted by Ebiquity that began in March and also included Omnicom Media Group’s OMD.

Publicis Groupe will handle media planning and strategy for the client via a “Power of One” dedicated unit drawing from multiple agencies, as well as providing digital expertise in support of the McDonald’s Customer Data Platform.

The fast-food chain’s decision to move its media planning responsibilities in China was region-specific and doesn’t reflect holistically on the brand’s relationship at large with OMD, according to a source with knowledge of McDonald’s agency relationships, who added that OMD had acted as a great partner for McDonald’s in China. The decision to move its media planning responsibilities was largely focused on the leveraging of data in an advanced market, the source added, with Publicis Groupe’s expertise in this regard an important factor in its selection.


Data consultancy COMvergence estimated that McDonald’s spends around $78 million annually in China across both measured media channels and search and social media.

“McDonald’s China is an incredible brand with ambitious growth targets in China, and we are truly honored to have been awarded this account. McDonald’s was looking for more than a conventional media planning agency. We demonstrated our Power of One approach in assembling a cross-functional team across media, ad tech, data science and analytics, to drive media efficiency and effectiveness,” Jane Lin-Baden, managing partner APAC and CEO of North Asia for Publicis Groupe, said in a statement. “We are ready to be a partner of growth for McDonald’s China.”

Media buying duties were not part of the review and remain with OMD at this time, although an examination of McDonald’s media buying partner in the region remains ongoing, according to a source with knowledge of McDonald’s agency relationships. Publicis Groupe’s Starcom previously pitched for the account against OMD in 2018.