Burger King plans to drop it’s African American and Hispanic ad agencies

Two months after consolidating some major advertising assignments, the Burger King Corporation is paring its agency roster again, this time affecting agencies that specialize in marketing to African-American and Hispanic consumers.

The changes, are indicative of a trend that has accelerated as younger consumers, who are often less likely to use traditional labels of race and ethnicity, have become more of a force in the consumer marketplace. As a result, advertisers are rethinking their decades-long approach of assigning duties for minority markets to agencies that specialize in those markets.

Those shifts, by advertisers like Home Depot, have stirred spirited discussion, however, as some shops that are owned by members of minority groups call it ill-advised to remove them from agency rosters in favor of general-market or mainstream agencies.

Burger King is making the changes “based on where our consumer is,” Mike Kappitt, chief marketing officer for North America, said in a phone interview, particularly when considering “the X and Y generations” and their beliefs in the “melting pot.”

Consolidating the assignments will provide “a consistent voice,” he added, without overlooking minority consumers.

Leo Leon, vice president for marketing impact at the Burger King North American operations, estimated that a third of the United States population is composed of minority-group members.

“We felt the right decision for Burger King is to address all our consumers as a whole,” he added, “instead of taking a segmented approach.”

Burger King will consolidate the duties to create campaigns for adults, whatever their ethnicity, at Crispin Porter & Bogusky in Miami and Boulder, Colo., The agency, owned by MDC Partners, is responsible for ads aimed at the general market and has also been creating most ads aimed at black consumers.

The decision means that LatinWorks in Austin, Tex., will no longer create campaigns for Burger King aimed at Hispanic consumers. And the UniWorld Group in Brooklyn, N.Y., which has been creating some national radio campaigns aimed at the African-American market, will relinquish those duties as well.

Burger King will continue to run ads for Hispanics in Spanish as well as English, Mr. Leon said, adding that Crispin Porter had already “helped out a little” with the creation of ads in Spanish.

Although LatinWorks is losing its Burger King business, it was named last week as the new Hispanic creative agency in the United States for the Chevrolet division of General Motors.

Burger King is also consolidating the assignment for what is known as field marketing, which involves sending agency representatives into local and regional markets to help a company sell goods and products on the grass-roots level.

The assignment, which had been divided between UniWorld and Wunderman, part of the Young & Rubicam Brands division of WPP, will now be handled solely by Wunderman. Most of the field team members at UniWorld who currently work on the Burger King account who will be offered jobs at Wunderman, the Burger King executives said.

Although the Burger King executives did not disclose the spending for the assignments that are being shifted, they said that they planned to increase the amount of money spent on ads aimed at black and Hispanic consumers by more than 30 percent.

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0 Comments

  • Stacey A. (Pirate)

    Reply Reply September 3, 2010

    ‎”Although the Burger King executives did not disclose the spending for the assignments that are being shifted, they said that they planned to increase the amount of money spent on ads aimed at black and Hispanic consumers by more than 30 percent.”

    It DOESN’T mean they aren’t going to market to blacks/latinos. It means they are going to majority agencies AND SPENDING MORE MONEY.

    Kind of a slap in the face to the agencies that focus on and are run by minorities.

  • Florentino Sidman

    Reply Reply September 17, 2010

    It is sweet that you wrote about this. I found you on google and I had been searching for information about this. Nice site, thank you for the info. I will check back to check for new info

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