DDB beats Leo Burnett to McDonald’s prize

Fast food giant McDonald’s has ditched its lead US advertising agency Leo Burnett in favour of DDB Needham, on its $400m (242m) account.

A statement issued by the troubled fast food chain, whose recent discounting policy was judged a failure, confirmed DDB Needham would take over immediately as McDonald’s lead agency – a position DDB occupied for a decade until ousted by Leo Burnett in 1981. A decision on the media account, also held by Burnett, will be made within 90 days.

According to Brad Ball, senior vice president of McDonald’s USA Marketing, Leo Burnett will still handle advertising for McDonald’s “kids, tween [young teenagers] and Ronald McDonald business”, but DDB will take over “adult and promotional advertising activity”.

McDonald’s executives played down the impact the decision will have in the UK, where Leo Burnett handles the hamburger chain’s 35m annual advertising account.

“This decision does not affect McDonald’s international business for either agency in any way,” says Ball. A spokesman for McDonald’s UK also says that the US decision will not affect the UK.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here