Bernstein-Rein, Big Mac Reunited

After 3 Years Away, Kansas City Shop Is Back On Regional Roster
CHICAGO–The shop credited with developing the packaged Happy Meal for kids has returned to the McDonald’s agency roster after a three-year absence.
Bernstein-Rein Advertising in Kansas City, Mo., has been named agency for two of the fast-food chain’s operator groups: The McDonald’s Heart of America Co-op, representing franchisees in Kansas City, and Mac Inc., made up of operators in Nebraska and eastern Iowa. In total, the co-ops comprise approximately 250 McDonald’s units. Billings were not disclosed.
The accounts were shifted from Moroch & Associates in Dallas without a review.
“It’s nice to be back with McDonald’s,” said agency president and chief executive officer Bob Bernstein. “We’ve lived through a lot of changes.”
The agency’s relationship with McDonald’s dates to 1967, Bernstein said. “It was the first piece of business we acquired of any significance,” Bernstein said. “It’s been an important piece of business over the years.”
The agency has handled 13 different McDonald’s co-ops over the years and is credited with developing the boxed Happy Meal concept for the chain. In 1995, however, Bernstein-Rein resigned the three co-ops it was then handling–in Kansas City, Nebraska/eastern Iowa and Colorado Springs, Colo.–to become the national agency for Shoney’s Restaurants’ $10-12 million account. The Colorado Springs co-op hooked up with Kragie/Newell in Des Moines, Iowa, while the other two hired Moroch.
Last year, Shoney’s moved its account to Italia/Gal Advertising in Los Angeles after a review.
According to sources, the two co-ops that Moroch was handling approached Bernstein-Rein about re-establishing ties after learning that Moroch was negotiating a merger with another major McDonald’s regional agency, Fahlgren in Dublin, Ohio [Adweek, May 11]. Co-op executives and Moroch and Fahlgren officials could not be reached for comment.
Separately, sources said McDonald’s Corp. has approached nonroster agencies in Chicago about a project assignment involving an “image makeover” for chain icon Ronald McDonald. Its roster shops are DDB Needham, Leo Burnett and Burrell Communications, all in Chicago. However, a McDonald’s representative said he was “unaware of plans to make any changes with Ronald’s image.”
–with Scott Hume