Orange County Business Journal

Taco Bell Seeks New Ad Shop for Media Planning

Jerry Sullivan Thursday, September 27, 2012

Irvine-based fast-food chain Taco Bell Corp. will put the media-planning portion of its adverting account up for review, according trade publication Ad Age.

The Irvine office of Draftfcb—the ad agency of record on the account—is apparently set to keep creative duties. It will not make a bid to retain the media-planning business, according to the report.

MEC, an agency under the umbrella of U.K.-based WPP PLC in New York, handles media buying for Taco Bell.

Draftfcb is part of New York-based Interpublic Group of Companies Inc., and its Irvine office is the fifth-largest ad shop in Orange County, according to the most recent Business Journal estimates, with about $200 million in billings last year and 80 employees here.

“Draftfcb continues to be our lead agency, and we’re extremely proud of their creative work,” said Brian Niccol, chief marketing and innovation officer at Taco Bell, in a statement.

Executives at the ad agency’s Irvine office could not be reached for comment.

Taco Bell spent $250 million on advertising last year, according to New York-based advertising and marketing research company Kantar Media, part of WPP. The total does not include spending on digital media.

The pending change on the chain’s media-planning business follows a shift two months ago, when it hired San Francisco office of Digitas, part of Paris-based Publicis Groupe, as its digital agency. Digitas replaced Draftfcb on the assignment.

Digitas’ office in San Francisco now handles the social, mobile and other digital marketing for the chain, with help from the agency’s Chicago offices.