International news: McDonald’s shakes up US agency model, KFC launches a phone

Plus French publishers team up to take on the digital duopoly of Facebook and Google, and Amazon plots a move into Indian grocery market.

McDonald's

McDonald’s plots shake-up of US marketing model

McDonald’s is planning a shake-up of its US marketing model as it looks to offer a more consistent marketing message and save on agency costs. According to a report in AdAge, the company wants to cut the number of creative agencies its franchisees work with. Currently, around 60 agencies do local work for its 200 franchise groups across the country, but McDonald’s wants to get that down to 10 or fewer.

The report also suggests local agencies will be given less creative freedom, with an emphasis on localising national campaigns rather than creating original local output.

“Building the modern, progressive company that we aspire to be involves changing the way we conduct business,” says McDonald’s spokeswoman Terri Hickey in a statement shared with AdAge. “In order to accelerate our efforts to engage customers across all platforms to advance our brand vision, we aim to streamline and modernise our local marketing efforts in 2018.”

The shift follows similar moves at companies including Procter & Gamble and Unilever, both of which have said they are cutting the number of agencies they work with in order to reduce costs and improve consistency.

READ MORE: McDonald’s puts local US creative accounts in review, aiming to cut dozens of shops

French publishers team up to take on Facebook and Google

French publishers are setting aside their differences to work together on a digital ad offering that they hope will enable them to take on Facebook and Google in the digital space.

Le Monde and Le Figaro, who are fierce rivals, are letting advertisers book digital ad campaigns across their titles for the first time, according to Digiday. Meanwhile, media groups including Conde Nast, Le Parisien and Prisma Media are also pooling data with the hopes of offering a more tantalising opportunity for advertisers.

According to Médiamétrie, Google has 44 million unique monthly visitors in France, with Facebook on 40 million and Microsoft 36 million. By comparison, the combined Le Monde and Le Figaro group has 35 million unique users.

READ MORE: French publishers are joining forces to take on Google and Facebook

Amazon plots move into Indian grocery market

amazon

Amazon is planning a major move into the Indian grocery market following its shock bid to dominate the the US market following its purchase of Whole Foods.

India is the world’s third largest grocery market with $428bn in sales. Currently, Amazon has no direct grocery presence there, instead acting as a distributor for independent grocers. That was in part because of strict government rules around foreign investment in the country. However, these rules are now being relaxed.

“We are extremely excited about the fact that the Indian government has looked at and opened up the opportunity of foreign direct investment in food,” says Saurabh Srivastava, director of FMCG and consumables at Amazon India, speaking to the Financial Times.

“This [shift into grocery] was very clear to us even before we launched Amazon India in 2013,” he explains. “I moved to India from Seattle in 2012 and from the very beginning we have been planning to build this grocery business.”

Amazon has been making much bigger plays into the grocery market across a number of markets in recent months. Besides the $13.7bn Whole Foods deal, it has been rolling out Amazon Fresh in both the US and internationally, and in the UK inked a deal with Morrisons to provide a wider range of grocery products to its customers.

READ MORE: Amazon gears up for assault on India’s grocery sector (£)

Live TV watching falls in Australia

The amount of time Australians spend watching live TV has fallen to its lowest level since Nielsen starting measuring it. Australians now spend an average of 111 hours and 3 minutes a month watching content on TV screens.

Yet, even with catch-up included, TVs viewing has fallen by 8% over the past four years – an average of 10 hours per month.

Despite this decline, the TV screen remains the key way to watch video content. Just 1-2% of TV viewing happens on a connected device such as a tablet or smartphone in Australia. And Australians spend just 13 hours and 4 minutes per month watching video (including on sites such as YouTube and Facebook) on a desktop or laptop and 2 hours and 46 minutes watching on smartphone and tablets.

READ MORE: Australians’ voracious video viewing behaviours

KFC tries a new brand extension as it launches a phone in China

KFC is celebrating its 30th anniversary in China by launching a specially-branded mobile phone featuring an image of its brand ambassador Colonel Sanders. The phone, created by Chinese mobile manufacturer Huawei, is available in bright red and is a limited edition version of its Enjoy 7 mid-range phone.

It also comes with an app called K-Music that allows owners to create playslists and share them in a KFC restaurant. And it includes 10,000 ‘K dollars’, a digital currency used by KFC in China, so users can get some cheap popcorn chicken.

Huawei was founded in 1987, the same year KFC opened its first restaurant in China.

READ MORE: Huawei Announces Hilarious Special Edition KFC Phone In China

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