Coke Details Agency Realignment

15 October 2001

Coca-Cola has at long last provided details of its realignment of up to $600 million of ad business, following weeks of speculation [WAMN: 28-Sep-01].

The account moves were outlined in a memo circulated last week, though the soft drinks giant had to alter the list three times after discrepancies were noted. An official announcement is not expected.

As anticipated, the beneficiaries were Interpublic Group, part of the Coke roster since the 1950s, and WPP Group, both chosen for their “worldwide strategic and creative capability, strong infrastructure and global reach in 200 countries.” However, regional marketing managers may still assign local brands to local agencies.

WPP, which is working for Coke for the first time, saw its Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide unit in New York pick up Sprite and Diet Sprite, both handled previously by IPG’s Lowe Lintas & Partners, and Fanta, which had been split between various agencies. O&M is seeking a creative executive to oversee the duties.

IPG’s McCann-Erickson, already incumbent on the flagship Coca-Cola Classic duties – or just plain Coca-Cola as it is known outside North America – picks up Cherry Coke (from Cliff Freeman & Partners, New York), plus sports-themed creative (from Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Oregon), seasonal and promotional campaigns, such as the current Harry Potter push (from Leo Burnett Worldwide) and Nascar-oriented ads (from D’Arcy in New York).

New York’s Lowe Lintas deprives W+K of Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Lemon and Latin American duties for Coke Light (as Diet Coke is known there). The shop also picks up several brands sold by Beverage Partners Worldwide, a joint venture with Nestlé, which were previously without an agency. It is unclear whether BPW’s Nestea Cool brand, currently at Berlin Cameron & Partners in New York, will also shift.

Foote, Cone & Belding, which recently lost some $350m of PepsiCo duties, receives sports drinks Powerade and Aquarius (from W+K), Fruitopia and juice brands Minute Maid and Hi-C (from Leo Burnett), Simply Orange juices (from Doner, Southfield, Michigan) and Dasani water (from Berlin Cameron).

Other IPG beneficiaries include Carmichael Lynch in Minneapolis, gaining Barq’s root beer from W+K, and the same city’s Campbell Mithun, which picked up Citra soda from Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, adding the business to its existing Fresca soda account.

Despite losing Dasani, New York independent Berlin Cameron holds onto Pibb and Mello Yello, and picks up Minute Maid sodas. Similarly, W+K receives some consolation for lost business in the KMX energy drink account (from Cliff Freeman). Dentsu continues to handle the company’s Japanese business, while Publicis holds on to European Coke Light duties. D’Arcy and Cliff Freeman, however, lose their places on the Coke roster.

News sources: New York Times;