McDonald’s switches its lobby firm

McDonald’s has appointed Bell Pottinger Public Affairs as the fast food chain seeks to make its voice heard on key issues, such as obesity and the environment.

The agency was appointed after a four-way pitch and takes over from Weber Shandwick, whose contract came to an end last month after two years.

McDonald’s external affairs manager Caroline Weber said the brief was to focus on increasing understanding of McDonald’s in its four key policy areas of the environment, food, people and community.

‘We felt it was time to review everything and found Bell Pottinger well placed to work in these four areas,’ she said, adding: ‘The brief will be about demanding reappraisal from big stakeholders and helping build positive relationships.’

The appointment reunites Bell Pottinger PA managing director Peter Bingle with McDonald’s. Bingle previously worked on the company’s business for four years while at The Communication Group.

He said: ‘For us, the most important thing is to ensure that the company is heard on sensitive subjects like obesity, and that what it does is understood by key people.’

Other key issues Bingle mentioned include the environment and employment practice.

The agency will initially handle a programme of activities already planned for the rest of this year. Among the first tasks will be public affairs around the Community Shield football match (previously the Charity Shield) in August, a ‘Parliamentary Shield’ match the day before, and the party conference season in the autumn.

The account will be run by Bingle and associate director Malcolm Gooderham, who will report to Weber.

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