Burger King Confirms Agency Switch

Fast food giant Burger King confirmed Monday that it was shifting its North America media assignment to independent Horizon Media. The incumbent was Starcom.

The client confirmed that the award came after a “full review” that included pitches from multiple agencies. That’s contrary to information from sources late last week when the story first broke that the business was moved without a formal review.

It was not clear who else pitched the business. Sources indicated however that Starcom was not part of the pitch process.

In the U.S. the fast-food chain spent $258 million on ads in 2012, which was down from the $304 million it spent in 2011 according to Kantar. For the first nine months of 2013, the company spent around $205 million.

Confirming the selection Monday the company said Horizon would serve as its “lead media strategy and buying agency for all of its general market efforts in North America, effective immediately.”  The client also said that, “To lead and manage the business, Horizon has set up a dedicated team at their New York office.  This announcement follows a full agency review and proposals from multiple agencies.”



The switch also comes after the appointment of new Global Chief Marketing Officer Axel Schwan.

Commenting on the shift Eric Hirschhorn Burger King’s North America CMO, said "Horizon was selected due to its clear and compelling vision for driving growth for the Burger King brand. Their unique understanding of the Burger King consumer, powered by its platform of proprietary tools, will help to drive a new level of insight, creativity and engagement across all channels."

Burger King has made several agency switches on both the media and creative sides of the business in recent years.

Starcom had the account for a little over two years. Before that Mindshare handled buying and mcgarrybowen handled planning and creative.

In February Mother replaced mcgarrybowen as lead creative after just 18 months. Prior to mcgarrybowen, Crispin Porter + Bogusky handled media planning and was BK’s lead creative agency from 2004 to 2011.

Starcom however, remains on the client roster in other markets. Earlier this year it was awarded media planning and buying duties for much of Europe. The estimated $65 million European assignment covers UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

This is an updated story from a version that was posted Dec. 20 without input from Burger King.

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