Coca-Cola has dumped McCann-Erickson Worldwide Advertising from its flagship account in the US and handed the role of lead creative agency to rival New York shop Berlin Cameron/Red Cell.

McCann – which has a 60-year relationship with the drinks titan – has been steadily losing its grip on the Coca-Cola Classic duties in recent weeks. At the start of the year, Berlin was appointed to create the brand’s North American Real campaign, which will be backed by spend of $250 million (€232m; £154m) this year [WAMN: 08-Jan-03].

The ousted agency will continue to handle the flagship cola outside of the US, though even here it is not safe. In the UK, Coke recently turned to London hotshop Mother for creative ideas for the brand [WAMN: 14-Jan-03].

The account shift is a blow for McCann’s parent Interpublic Group, of whose clients Coke is one the biggest. Rival WPP Group, owner of Berlin, has been making incursions into the cola mammoth’s business – its agencies also handle Sprite, Dasani, Mello Yello and Nestea.

All of which is not good news for Interpublic chief executive John Dooner, who is closely linked with the Coke account.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff