Lowe Gets Go-Ahead on BK Ads

New Campaign Will Determine Future of Agency/Client Relationship
NEW YORK–Burger King has approved creative concepts from Lowe Lintas & Partners for a new
ad campaign that harkens back to the chain’s core values of flame-broiled taste and custom-ordering, sources said.
The new work is expected to be completed before early April, in time to be unveiled to BK’s 1,500 franchisees at a meeting in Orlando, Fla.
The campaign features a new tagline written by Lee Garfinkel, chief creative officer, and is considered to be a do-or-die effort that will determine the future of the client/agency relationship. Lowe Lintas declined comment.
The $400 million account was shaky at incumbent Ammirati Puris Lintas, but it is believed that the newly merged agency has been granted a reprieve. Fresh creative talent, including Garfinkel and others, has been welcomed by the client, sources said. And Nancy McNally, APL account chief, who is key to the relationship, continues those duties as Lowe Lintas general manager.
On the new direction, a client representative said, “As a brand, we think of ourselves as fun, irreverent and cutting-edge. So the new advertising will attempt to play that up.”
The nation’s No. 2 burger chain is coming off a rocky year in which sales dipped, top executives resigned and a Pokƒmon toy promotion was implicated in the deaths of two children.
The campaign would be the first since the Miami-based company’s “When you have it your way, it just tastes better” effort went black in September, a month after it began. The former APL created the campaign before merging in October with Lowe & Partners.
One spot showed two men in a staring contest over a Whopper. The winner wore a Whopper “patch” augmenting his resolve, while his opponent ate the sandwich.
The client said “Patch” and other spots did not deliver the “key message of taste and customization.” Since then, BK has been airing promotional and tactical ads, such as this month’s “Two Whoppers for $2,” created by other roster agencies.
Lowe Lintas presented creative concepts two weeks ago, as did roster shop D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles. The latter is believed to have discussed work related to its promotional assignment. Meanwhile, Saatchi & Saatchi, which also works with BK, met with the client, but the nature of those talks could not be determined.
While Lowe Lintas has the main account, D’Arcy is BK’s agency in Europe, and MediaVest handles buying. D’Arcy produced the “Yin and Yang” spot in the “Two Whoppers for $2” effort. Others came from Lowe Lintas and UniWorld, the client’s African-American-market agency.
Jonathan Mandell, the worldwide creative officer at MacManus Group sister shop N.W. Ayer & Partners, oversaw the D’Arcy spot, said sources. Mandell was managing director on BK at APL until April of last year.
The client said Saatchi is working on a “special assignment,” but would not elaborate. BK and Saatchi meetings began late in 1999 and continued this month, sources said. Saatchi, which handles BK in Singapore and used to handle its Kids Club business in the U.S., declined comment.