McDonald’s Taps AKQA

NEW YORK McDonald’s has confirmed the selection of independent AKQA to serve as its lead global digital agency.

In this new role on the McDonald’s roster, the independent shop in San Francisco will take charge of developing a worldwide interactive strategy and platforms for the brand. AKQA will work with McDonald’s local agencies on executions in various media.

“We are pleased to partner with AKQA to develop a global digital marketing strategy to further strengthen the McDonald’s brand online and throughout our more than 30,000 restaurants around the world,” said Mary Dillon, McDonald’s worldwide CMO, in a statement.

Omnicom Group’s Tribal DDB, McDonald’s longtime digital agency in the U.S. and elsewhere, will continue working for the restaurant giant.

“Our relationship hasn’t changed,” said Paul Gunning, president of Tribal DDB East. “We were the digital AOR in the U.S. and still are.”

McDonald’s joins AKQA’s growing roster of assignments from large global brands. The shop is also worldwide lead agency for Coca-Cola and Microsoft’s Xbox.

“It’s indicative of [large brands] shifting their focus and making sure they have the right resources and assignments for digital,” said Tom Bedcarre, AKQA’s CEO.

In addition, AQKA handles duties for Nike in Asia, Europe and Latin America and Visa in the United States. AKQA recently launched an outpost in China to handle Coke promotions for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games [Adweek Online, Oct. 19].

DDB is one of McDonald’s primary global advertising partners and developed the restaurant chain’s familiar “I’m lovin’ it” positioning.

McDonald’s spent $770 million in U.S. measured media last year, and almost $400 million through the first half of 2006, per TNS Media Intelligence.

The chain spent $15 million last year on domestic digital efforts, per TNS.