Breaking up Burger King’s DMBB media stranglehold

In the trench warfare of fast food advertising, most of the participants use smaller agencies to plan and place local media. But that wasn’t the way Burger King did it.
Until now. D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles/N .Y. has had a stranglehold on Burger King’s media. But a small Syracuse, N.Y. agency called Eric Mower Associates has just entered the equation.
Beginning April 1, EMA officially begins handling a portion of the media for a group of Burger King franchisees in upstate New York. The group includes 46 restaurants in and around the Binghamton, Syracuse, Utica and Watertown markets.
It’s believed to be the first time an agency other than DMB&B placed media for Burger King since the fast fooder’s parent company, Grand Metropolitan, consolidated all media with the agency in April of 1991.
Jay Quinn, president/coo at EMA, said the agency handled some Burger King regional business back in the 1970s. And the agency has worked for other fast food companies, including Pizza Hut (as national sales promotion agency), Pepsi’s food service division and McDonald’s (co-op business).
But Quinn is quick to point out that EMA’s new assignment represents no loss for DMB&B.
“The franchisees are building a war chest,” he said. “Burger King has very high penetration in these markets and the franchisees are all pitching in extra money.”
Quinn, who would not quantify the franchisees’ war chest, said EMA is in media planning sessions now. He said the funds could be split over a range of options such as spot TV, spot radio and FSIs.
“It’s an open playing field right now,” he explained. “We’re planning for some real tactical stuff. It will be a strategic extension of what’s going on on the national level.”
While EMA isn’t remotely able to jockey with DMB&B nationally, Quinn said his shop will be able te capitalize on local events. “There are local opportunities that are too tasty to pass up,” he said. “And unless you’re ready, you miss the boat.”
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)