McDonald's moves creative duties to Leo Burnett

By , agencyfaqs! | In | March 17, 2004
The account was in the custodianship of Mudra since the fast-food retailer set foot in India about eight years ago.

In a surprise development, McDonald's has decided to move its creative duties to Leo Burnett. The account was in the custodianship of Mudra since the fast-food retailer set foot in India about eight years ago.

Confirming the development, Vikram Bakshi, joint venture partner and managing director, McDonald's (Northern India), said, "Aligning our creative business with one agency within a region is something we've done successfully in Latin America and more recently in the Asia Pacific region, of which India is a part. Also, it makes good business sense to strategically focus our advertising ideas regionally."

An official statement on the same from both the agencies involved - incumbent Mudra or newly appointed Leo Burnett - was hard to come by.

DDB Worldwide (one of the main networks within the Omnicom marketing services group) and Leo Burnett are on the global roster of the McDonald's creative account. Among many other regions, DDB handles McDonald's in Australia, New Zealand, USA and, till recently, in India through Mudra Communications (DDB has a 10 per cent equity stake in Mudra). In fact, McDonald's 'i'm lovin' it' brand campaign unveiled in September 2003 was created by DDB. Heye & Partner, part of the worldwide DDB network, and a long-time McDonald's agency based in Unterhaching, Germany, had jointly worked on the brand campaign. A press release on McDonald's' official website mentions "DDB Chicago had worked in partnership with McDonald's and Heye & Partner to shepherd the work through to its final form."

While officials at Leo Burnett are ecstatic about the development, it is an emotional moment for Mudra. The agency had, after all, launched brand McDonald's in India and serviced the business for eight long years. McDonald's Main Hai Kuch Baat is one of the most memorable recent campaigns done by Mudra. Industry observers admit Mudra was successful in lending an Indian image to a brand with a strong foreign lineage.

Ironically, this piece of news comes within days of appointment of two top-notch creative people at Mudra. Ramesh Ramanathan and Ryan Menezes are slated to join the agency as chief creative officer and national creative director respectively with effect from May 1, 2004.

This development brings us to the obvious question: What happens to the media duty of McDonald's, which was globally consolidated with Optimum Media Direction last year? Media reports indicate Optimum Media Direction is about to start operations in India, with Sandeep Tarkas, earlier president of Media Planning Group, South Asia, as head of operations in the country. It won't come as a surprise if OMD goes all out for its globally aligned businesses once it has set up shop here. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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