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BK: ‘Our Way. Right Away’: Once More Burger King Will Try a Fresh Approach; Mid-Sized Boutiques May Be Included in Review By Michael McCarthy and Scott Hum

NEW YORK – Now that Burger King has formally thrown the i

However, the end result could be different. Sources said the creative portion of the huge account might not land at a multinational agency and could end up with a creative boutique or mid-sized U.S. agency. The burger chain may unbundle its media buying and field-force responsibilities, which could open the account up to media buying services and smaller agencies. BK executives said they are ‘not precluding’ any possible agency scenarios.
Among the shops that could contest the business are Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, which continues to handle the Kids Club assignment from BK; Ogilvy & Mather, now that Hardee’s Food Systems is in review and O&M’s out of the running; and Goodby Berlin & Silverstein/S.F., which handled Carl’s Jr. on the West Coast. BK’s ethnic agencies – Uniworld and Sosa, Bromley, Aguilar & Associates – and DMB & B’s international business are unaffected. Relationships with its promotion agencies also continue.
When asked if a creative boutique had a shot in the review, BK National Franchisee Association president Jerry Ruenheck said ‘everything’ is on the table. However, he said he hopes that O&M or former BK shop J. Walter Thompson might be considered for the review. ‘There’s a great sense of urgency to this. Every time we switch agencies, there’s one of those five, six or seven month periods where we can’t hold the agency accountable,’ said Ruenheck, a former BK marketing chief. ‘In my mind, we don’t have that luxury. (The agency has) got to hit the ground running. If an agency’s going to have to have six months to get up to speed, I say don’t bid on it.’
‘Where the rubber meets the road is will the marketing strategy – and it should come from Burger King and not the agency, which has been a problem for years – drive customer counts north?’ said Ruenheck. ‘I don’t care about Clios, and I don’t care about unaided awareness. I don’t give two hoots about that unless customer counts are growing.’
It is unlikely JWT would be able to enter the fray, however, since its Detroit office just won the White Castle System business, and the ShowBiz Pizza Time business was snared by JWT/Chicago.
Meanwhile, with the chain’s 2,000-strong franchisee community increasingly setting up local advertising/media operations, sources said that the national ad account could dwindle in billings and significance over the next few years. BK franchisees are already discussing the creation of a media-buying coop, according to industry sources.
Meanwhile, DMB&B has not decided whether it will defend the creative part of the account, but sources said that it will likely try and hold on to the media.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)