McDonald’s franchisees replace Alta with Tierney

PHILADELPHIA: McDonald’s Philadelphia-area franchisees last week made their long-awaited choice of a lead agency, hiring The Tierney Group to head their regional PR.

PHILADELPHIA: McDonald’s Philadelphia-area franchisees last week made their long-awaited choice of a lead agency, hiring The Tierney Group to head their regional PR.

PHILADELPHIA: McDonald’s Philadelphia-area franchisees last week

made their long-awaited choice of a lead agency, hiring The Tierney

Group to head their regional PR.



The appointment, effective on January 1, ends the group’s relationship

with Alta Communications, which until earlier this year had been

Golin/Harris’ Philly outpost.



The McDonald’s Restaurant Association of the Greater Delaware and Lehigh

Valley, which had been with Golin/Alta for seven years, looked at six

agencies but quickly narrowed the search to Alta and Tierney. While

president Brian Tierney would not discuss the dollar value of the

assignment, a McDonald’s official said fees would likely be in the

high-six-figures-per-year range (PRWeek, Nov. 1). The McDonald’s

business becomes Tierney’s biggest PR account.



Despite his previous work with McDonald’s during his G/H tenure in the

1980s, Tierney claimed that he ’never reached out’ to lure the business

away from Alta. Until March, his firm represented a local convenience

store chain with a significant sandwich business, an account that would

have conflicted with any work he could have done for the fast-food

behemoth.



The conflict was resolved when the chain took its PR in-house.



G/H CEO Rich Jernstedt expressed surprise at the franchisees’

choice.



’I don’t know what they were looking for or why they made the change,’

he said. ’I do know that (Alta chief) Kate Allison and her team did

excellent work.’ Allison did not return calls for comment, but losing

the account - reportedly one of the agency’s biggest - during its first

year of independence can’t be a promising sign.



Tierney boasts more than 50 PR staffers and an estimated dollars 6.7

million in 1999 revenues. While Tierney brings in roughly dollars 25

million per year in advertising revenues, it will not be involved in any

McDonald’s ad decisions.



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