MIAMI: Burger King is ending its relationship with Weber Shandwick, shifting its marketing communications to Coltrin & Associates, a New York-based agency. Coltrin is also handling corporate PR as Burger King's new agency of record.
WS' marketing communications work will end in about 90 days, said Rob Doughty, Burger King VP of global corporate communications. The chain had worked primarily with WS' New York and Chicago offices.
Coltrin began doing corporate work for Burger King earlier this year.
Burger King CEO Brad Blum had met Coltrin chairman and CEO Steve Coltrin while Blum ran Darden Restaurant Group's Olive Garden chain. Coltrin held exploratory meetings with Blum, but had not formally pitched for the Olive Garden business, he said.
"Steve is an excellent strategist. He helped us with a number of communication strategies in the beginning of the year," recalled Doughty. Blum and Burger King were so impressed with Coltrin, they decided to move their PR work to his firm.
In December, former owner Diageo sold Burger King to a group comprising Texas Pacific Group, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, and Bain Capital.
The new owners lured Blum from Olive Garden in December.
Burger King's new owners hope to eventually take the company public, so it needs to begin developing analyst relationships, Doughty said. Coltrin will work in that area, as well as handle media relations with the trade and business press.
Coltrin said he'll put at least four staffers on the account to start.
"One of their goals is to make sure the management team is appropriately visible," Coltrin said.
One of Coltrin's first major assignments will be to help the company prepare for its franchisee meeting May 8. "It's our biggest communications event of the year," said Doughty.
Burger King also switched ad agencies recently, giving its $340 million account to WPP's Young & Rubicam. IPG agencies were dropped in the process.