Barkley Returns to Fast Food

Agency wins Dairy Queen

Barkley has returned to the fast food business, nearly two years after longtime client Sonic left in February 2011 to work with Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

Dairy Queen awarded its creative account to the agency after a review, launched in September, in which there were three other undisclosed finalists, according to sources. Annual media spending on the brand approaches $90 million. Grey N.Y., its lead creative agency of 15 years, did not defend.  The search was launched after the company’s new head of marketing Barry Westrum joined last February.

“Dairy Queen is an iconic brand that is well-known and loved, so we received a tremendous amount of interest from agencies across the nation,” Westrum, evp, marketing, said in a statement. “We were impressed with Barkley’s creative approach, experience and keen understanding of our brand and the QSR (quick service restaurant) industry.”

Barkley, based in Kansas City, Mo., will handle all television creative as well as other marketing in the U.S. and Canada. The first of the Minneapolis chain's new national TV commercials will launch this spring.

Chicago-based consultancy, R3: JLB, managed the search.