Pepsi-Coke Legal Duel Costs Sixty Jobs at FCB
The sudden withdrawal of Coca-Cola’s newly-won Dansani and Powerade accounts from Foote Cone & Belding [WAMN: 12-Nov-01] has led to the layoff of some sixty agency staff – ten per cent of its workforce.

The loss was precipitated by granting of a court order to PepsiCo preventing FCB staffers, previously employed on its Aquafina bottled water brand, from working on rival Coke brand Dansani. A like judgement also applied to Powerade.

The legal battle follows PepsiCo’s move in September when it pulled a range of brands worth some $241m – including the two in contention – out of FCB and consolidated all its business with Omnicom [WAMN: 24-Sep-01]. FCB then entered into discussions with Coke and was subsequently awarded the contested business.

The next episode of the saga is scheduled for December 11 when a federal preliminary injunction hearing will decide whether the Powerade account move should be blocked, followed two days later by a separate hearing at Cook County Circuit Court concerning the Dasani award.

Pending the outcome, Coke moved Dansani back to its old home at Berlin Cameron & Partners and Powerade to Wieden & Kennedy. FCB, meantime, is keeping its fingers crossed that the respective judges will release the brakes.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)