McDonald's reviews UK public relations function

LONDON - Fast-food giant McDonald's is reviewing its UK PR strategy with agency hires looming early next year.

McDonald's currently retains two agencies -- The Red Consultancy and Countrywide Porter Novelli -- for consumer PR work.

A McDonald's spokeswoman insisted the company reviews its PR on an 'ongoing basis' and that it had not embarked on a 'formal review of rostered agencies'.

The spokeswoman insisted the contracts of Red and CPN were not under threat: 'We are currently reviewing our corporate affairs programmes and we will look to supplement our [in-house] team's skills.

'We will undertake project work next year, as most companies will. If we don't have the expertise in-house then we would look outside,' she added.

The review coincides with the end of what the spokeswoman described as a 'settling in' period for head of corporate affairs Nick Hindle, who joined the firm from Phipps PR, where he was MD, just over three months ago. Hindle replaced Edwina Bensilum, who has moved to a role as director of internal comms for McDonald's Europe.

Both Red and CPN have worked for McDonald's for around five-and-a-half years. The former's main current remit is to maximise awareness of McDonald's' sponsorships of the Football Associations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The agency seeks to promote the community aspects of these sponsorships.

CPN has handled a range of consumer and community affairs work, such as promoting the 'Own Town Story' exhibition at the now-closed Millennium Dome.

McDonald's also retains Weber Shandwick for public affairs support. It hired that agency, which reports to external affairs manager Caroline Weber, around one year ago.

McDonald's opened its first UK outlet in 1974. It now has more than 1,200 restaurants in the country. Its UK corporate HQ is in East Finchley.

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