A cooperative association of 91 McDonald's restaurants in the area has switched advertising agencies after only eight months, replacing Baltimore-based Trahan, Burden & Charles with Arnold Fortuna Lane, a Boston firm.
A representative of the Greater Baltimore McDonald's Advertising Association and a spokeswoman with Trahan, Burden & Charles said the decision to part was "mutual."
The account was worth about $7 million.
Arnold Fortuna Lane will take over the advertising account after a transition period, McDonald's announced yesterday. The agency represents eight other McDonald's cooperatives, primarily in the Northeast.
Sandy Hillman, head of the public relations division at Trahan, Burden & Charles, said the agency also will give up the McDonald's public relations account because of her belief that public relations and advertising should work together.
Linda Howe, McDonald's regional marketing manager, would not give any reason for the agency switch. "TBC is a fine shop," she said.
Advertising industry representatives characterize McDonald's as a demanding client, a description Ms. Howe acknowledged. "I think we are demanding and we are fair," she said.
Ms. Hillman added few details. "I think the new cooperative has a lot of issues to deal with," she said.
Trahan, Burden & Charles did not create any television commercials for the cooperative but coordinated McDonald's advertisements by placing ads and commercials. Ms. Hillman said the agency was hired to be McDonald's marketing partner, "But the initial view and the evolving view were not in sync," she said.
Trahan, Burden & Charles gave up its advertising account with Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers when it took over the McDonald's account. The Wendy's account, which included franchises in Baltimore and Washington, was reported to be worth $6 million.