Omnicom Has Launched Its New McDonald’s Agency ‘We Are Unlimited’

By Patrick Coffee 

It finally happened.

Someone who might be particularly fond of burgers and fries has leaked news of Omnicom’s new dedicated McDonald’s unit, “We Are Unlimited” — or just Unlimited for short. Sources tell us the big reveal took the entire holding company by surprise today because it wasn’t supposed to go public until next week.

The Chicago-based operation will be run by Brian Nienhaus, former project manager at BBDO New York; he reports directly to DDB North America CEO Wendy Clark, who led the pitch process.


As previously reported, Omnicom has gathered a veritable cornucopia of talent from several agencies, tech companies and even media brands to staff Unlimited. Some of the names below may surprise those who aren’t directly in touch with the Chicago scene.

  • John Hansa, who ran the McD’s account at Leo Burnett Chicago, will be ECD and creative lead
  • Graceann Bennet, formerly with Ogilvy, M&C Saatchi and others, is chief strategy officer
  • Accenture’s North American eCommerce manager Chip Knicker has been brought on as chief digital officer
  • Chief production officer Jon Ellis comes over from DDB, where he was VP/executive integrated producer in Chicago
  • Linda Poe, a nine-year veteran of Omnicom’s Element79, is chief financial officer
  • Ursula Ostrom, SVP/account director at The Marketing Store, will be “embedded” in Unlimited as SVP and group director

There’s quite a bit of embedding going on. Teams from The Marketing Store, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Adobe and The New York Times’ Brand Studio will be part of the Unlimited unit in addition to “others.”

The statement from McDonald’s CMO Deborah Wohl:

“Whether it’s a social post, an anthemic film or in-restaurant messaging, we are confident that analytically inspired, creatively driven thinking and work from Unlimited will help shape McDonald’s marketing in completely new ways to break new ground and fuel  increased business impact.”

To refresh your memory, McDonald’s decided to consolidate with Omnicom back in August, dropping Leo Burnett after more than three decades despite the fact that much of its improved performance over the past year had been due to the Breakfast All Day push. The chain intially planned to pit the three major holding companies against one another in the review, but WPP bowed out in May. That decision allegedly came after executives learned that the contracts would require the winning unit to operate at cost, among other unusual demands.

In other, far more important McDonald’s news, the chain plans to begin bringing your orders right to your table in 2017.

We have officially entered the future. Flying cars and immortality can’t be too far behind.