LONDON: Burger King has appointed Weber Shandwick to handle its UK and Ireland consumer PR after Cohn & Wolfe declined to fight to keep the work in the wake of personnel changes at the chain.
Weber was awarded the account after first triumphing in a competitive pitch for a piece of project work.
Emma Thompson, MD of consumer marketing at Weber Shandwick in the UK, said it has been working on “a significant project for the UK market” and has since been appointed AOR.
However, its requirements do not include the public affairs work awarded to Cohn & Wolfe two years ago, which was the first time the burger chain employed a UK agency.
The corporate part of Cohn & Wolfe's contract is also understood to have been largely wound down, though Weber will cover some elements.
Scott Wilson, Cohn & Wolfe's UK CEO and EMEA MD, told PRWeek UK the agency made a “business decision” in which a change of personnel at the client was a key factor.
Recent departures from the US-based company include EMEA communications director Helena Roberts, who left last year after a period of maternity leave.
Cohn & Wolfe took the decision despite having added the consumer PR and social media business to its remit during the year.
This followed the resignation of Cake, which was hired at the same time Cohn & Wolfe won the corporate and public affairs work in early 2012. It is understood that Cake resigned due to differences of opinion over the direction of its work.
Cohn & Wolfe's work on the account included handling the reputation management issues arising during the UK horsemeat scandal of early 2013. At that time, the chain pulled its hamburgers, admitting they could have contained traces of horsemeat from the Silvercrest processing plant.
“We were delighted to be appointed in 2012 to manage Burger King's corporate affairs and public affairs account, and early in 2013 to be invited to take on first the additional consumer brief and then social media brief, but we made a business decision before Christmas not to be part of Burger King's latest comms review,” said Wilson.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.