Burger King names ICR as consumer PR AOR

The fast-food chain also named Conill as its culture and brand partnership AOR.

MIAMI: Burger King U.S. has named agencies ICR and Conill as AORs, responsible for consumer PR and culture and brand partnerships, respectively. 

Both agencies will support the internal Burger King U.S. marketing team in bringing updated messaging and refreshed storytelling across the brand experience to consumers nationwide, the company said in a statement. The firms will be focused on promoting the Whopper burger through the Reclaim the Flame and You Rule campaigns that launched last fall.

ICR and Conill join Burger King’s suite of agencies, including creative agency of record OKRP and media AOR PHD. Dentsu’s 360i handles social, Merkle supports loyalty and promotions work and 500 Degrees manages merchandising. 

“Ultimately, the goal here is to sell more Whoppers and to help Burger King and their franchisees be more successful,” said ICR managing partner Anton Nicholas. “That’s something that we bring to every account. We don't just do PR for PR sake; we think it's important that we're doing work to help them support what they're trying to achieve as a business.”

ICR’s experience in the QSR and broader restaurant categories will aid in reintroducing the brand through earned media and brand buzz, strategic management and execution of consumer lifestyle media relations and partnerships and special events. 

The consumer PR RFP was issued in September 2022. ICR partner Seth Grugle will lead the account, overseeing a team of 12. Alison Brod PR was the incumbent since 2013 when it took over for Coyne PR. 

Agency principal Alison Brod said her firm “loved and is proud of our 10 years working as AOR of Burger King” and is still an AOR partner for Restaurant Brands International chain Popeyes.

Cultural marketing agency Conill will play a pivotal role in helping Burger King establish stronger bonds with a highly diverse consumer base through a wide range of touchpoints and culturally relevant campaigns and partnerships.

Conill’s focus on culture and identity rather than ethnicity is why EVP and MD Ana Rodriguez said the firm stood out as the right pairing for this partnership. 

“Based on your experiences through life, you identify with different opportunities and different selections that you are presented,” Rodriguez said. “How ideas and how culture gets formed from different ways of thinking went very well with the thinking of BK as being a brand that is authentic, that is real, that invites and appeals to a very diverse type of customer.”

The RFP for culture and brand partnership was issued in August 2022 and Conill was selected that same month. Rodriguez will lead her team with VP and MD Anabel Ordonez leading the account. 

Both ICR and Conill began work with Burger King U.S. immediately following their selection, but the formalization of the partnership began this year. 

For the agencies involved, the opportunity to work with the classic burger franchise holds nostalgic meaning, tying intimately with childhood memories and comfort. The double cheeseburger has always been both Grugle’s and Nicholas’ go-to order and Rodriguez is privy to a double cheese Whopper, with an obligatory side of fries. 

“I don't know if anyone could have predicted the way that Burger King has captured the cultural zeitgeist in the past few months,” Grugle said. “The privilege of joining this team and joining this larger interagency team to meet up with some of these fantastic different companies across the board at this time and getting off to the races right now, we are just at peak Whopper.”

ICR is a strategic communications and advisory agency founded in 1998. Some of the firm’s clients include Planet Fitness, Five Below and Portillo’s, among others. 

Conill is the U.S.’ first Latino-founded agency, launched in 1968. The firm is a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe and its parent company is Saatchi and Saatchi. 

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