DDB Mudra Group wins McDonald’s India business on the back of a ‘unified approach’

DDB Mudra Group has won the business for Hardcastle Restaurants the master franchisee for McDonald’s in the West and South of India. The account had apparently moved out of Leo Burnett India last year.

This marks the first time in 15 years that DDB Mudra Group will be working on McDonald’s. The agency launched the brand  in 1996 with the line ‘McDonald’s Main Hai Kuch Baat’ [roughly translated as ‘There’s Something About McDonald’s].

A release from the DDB Mudra Group detailed the steps taken to win the business back and said: “Reigniting the McDonald’s – Mudra association required an uncommon approach. 

“The team went waist-deep in market research to find out what kept McDonald’s up at night. They rolled up their sleeves, entered McDonald’s restaurants and kitchens, observed, listened, as well as learned from years of research and data. 

“They supplemented this knowledge with expertise from DDB teams that work on the brand across the world.” 

Winning the business back involved creating a bespoke model leveraging brand management, advertising, digital and data capabilities.

DDB Mudra Group said: “To create solutions for the future, the team borrowed lessons from the past. They brought all the knowledge on business, brand, retail marketing, and consumer together to put the right people with the specialist skill sets, in the right structure; giving the McDonald’s team a first-hand taste of working with a unified approach to grow India’s under-penetrated eating out market.”

Earlier this year, DDB Mudra Group had created a film around an election-themed activation for McDonald’s called ‘Make Your Choice’ in which people who hadn’t voted were given deliberately wrong orders.

Commenting on the association, HRPL senior vice president of marketing and people resources Seema Arora Nambiar said: “We were quite impressed by the rigour and passion demonstrated by the DDB Mudra team. Being our global agency partner, they bring a deep understanding of our brand philosophy and ethos. 

“DDB and McDonald’s together have created some of the most pathbreaking campaigns globally and we are looking forward to replicating that in India as well.”

HRPL director of marketing and communications Arvind RP added: “We are excited to work with DDB in India. With a strong commitment to our brand and business and the ability to work seamlessly across brand touchpoints, we are confident that DDB will help us reinforce our brand love and catapult the business to its next phase of growth.”

DDB Mudra Group CEO and managing director Aditya Kanthy, who led the specialist team added: “The McDonald’s win means a lot to us. We’re talking about one of the most influential brands in the world and the opportunity to shape its future in India. 

“Our teams are challenging the conventions of how to work across disciplines. We’re contributing to their business planning, advertising, store experience, app ecosystem, delivery business, and offer design. 

“As clients they truly believe in the power of deep partnerships – we couldn’t ask for more. It also underlines the strength of the DDB global network, from Dave Kissel at one end of the world in Chicago to Peter Rodenbeck at the other end in Hong Kong – this is a true meeting of hearts and minds of folks who have ketchup in their veins.” 

In spite of being one of the first international quick serve restaurants in India, McDonald’s growth hit a roadblock due to a prolonged legal dispute with its master franchisee for the North and East of the country which began in 2008. It was only earlier this year that McDonald’s reached an agreement which saw it parting ways with its estranged former partner.


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