Coke u-turn sees O&M on UK roster

Ogilvy & Mather announced yesterday that it had won the global

Fanta and Sprite accounts owned by Coca-Cola, in a move that flies in

the face of the soft drink giant's much-vaunted "think local, act local"


The Sprite and Diet Sprite accounts move from Interpublic Group's Lowe

Lintas & Partners, while Fanta shifts from Soul in the UK and Cliff

Freeman & Partners in the US. Paul Simons, chairman and chief executive

of Ogilvy UK, said: "It's very good news in these gloomy times and we're

absolutely thrilled."

However, sources close to the business expect IPG to be compensated for

its loss with the global Diet Coke account, currently handled by Wieden

& Kennedy. It has not yet emerged if the business will be handed to Lowe

Lintas or sister network McCann-Erickson. Powerade, the company's energy

drink brand handled by Wieden & Kennedy in the US, is reported to be

shifting to IPG's third major network, FCB.

The network appointments have been instigated by the president-chief

executive of Coca-Cola's new-business ventures unit, Steve Heyer. The

company's local marketing departments, however, still appear unclear

about what is happening to their agency relationships. A spokesman for

Coca-Cola UK said: "We are retaining the agencies we currently have in

the UK and there are no current plans to change."

A place on Coca-Cola's coveted roster is a coup for WPP. There was an

existing relationship between Heyer, a former WPP board member and a

former president of Young & Rubicam, and WPP's chief executive, Sir

Martin Sorrell. Heyer joined Coca-Cola in March.

The return to international advertising campaigns controlled from

Coca-Cola's Atlanta headquarters comes only a year after Douglas Daft,

Coca-Cola's chairman and chief executive, instigated the local

advertising strategy.

One source close to the business said: "The pendulum has swung back to

centralised control at Coca-Cola."

In the UK, Coca-Cola's marketing director, Charlotte Oades, has been

implementing the local strategy since her appointment to the position in

May 2000. Since then she has reviewed the entire roster of Coca-Cola

brands, handing accounts to smaller creative hot shops including Soul,

which won Coke Auction and Fanta, Wieden & Kennedy, which won Diet Coke,

and Mother, which won the Dr Pepper, Alive and Schweppes accounts in

addition to its work for Lilt.

Last week PepsiCo shifted its Quaker brands' accounts out of IPG's FCB

network because of IPG's relationship with Coca-Cola. The expected Diet

Coke and Powerade account moves are thought to have taken IPG's

resultant billings loss into account.

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