Burger King Launches Global Agency Review [Updated]

Hires new digital shop as it splits with Mother

Just 11 months after Burger King named independent Mother New York creative lead on its business, the two have parted ways and the Miami fast-food company is looking for a new global creative agency.

Global spending could not immediately be determined, but in the U.S. alone, BK spent more than $235 million in media in 2012 and about $190 million in the first nine months of last year, according to Nielsen.

The review is being led by BK’s new global chief marketing officer Axel Schwan, who assumed his position Jan. 1., and will be supported by North America CMO Eric Hirschhorn.

In North America, BK said it will also continue to work with roster shop of more than ten years, Pitch in Culver City, Calif., which produced the brand’s current advertising.

In addition to ending its relationship with Mother, Burger King has named N.Y.-based Code and Theory as its digital agency of record, replacing Big Fuel.

This is BK’s third change in creative and media partners since mid-2011. Before Mother took over last February, mcgarrybowen was the company’s last creative lead, picking up the business in June 2011. (After a high-profile review, mcgarrybowen prevailed, succeeding Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.) Mcgarrybowen won lead status but the marketer then decided to play the field, with each new assignment becoming a competition among all roster shops.

The Mother split comes after Burger King quietly shifted media agencies at the end of the year, moving its business to Horizon Media after a review. Since mid-2011, Burger King has also worked with Starcom and Mindshare.

Mother's last work for Burger King was September's launch of Satisfries—a new, lower-calorie, lower-fat french fry—with spots like "Satisfry Everybody."

“After working together to launch several successful campaigns, including Satisfries french fries, the two parties have made the mutual decision to end their relationship,” the company said in a statement.

New global CMO Schwan, whose new role was announced last October, has been vp of marketing and communications for BK’s Europe, Middle East and Africa operations for the past two years. He previously was the company’s marketing director for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. His appointment follows frequent turnover in BK’s top marketing ranks: Schwan takes over from Flavia Faugeres, who was given the job in Sept., 2011. She replaced Natalia Franco, who resigned in March of that year—serving less than a year after replacing Russ Klein.

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