Interpublic blow as Mother wins Classic Coke in the UK

LONDON - In a further blow to Interpublic Group, Coca-Cola Great Britain has appointed Mother to advertise its core Coke Classic brand in the UK.

The agency will adapt the "real" strategy, which has so far been celebrity driven, featuring Penelope Cruz and Courtney Cox.

It is further bad news for Interpublic and its relationship with Coca-Cola. The appointment of Mother leaves McCann-Erickson out in the cold on the core Coke advertising in the UK, although the agency still works on Vanilla Coke.

Last week, McCann-Erickson lost the French Coca-Cola account, which was shifted into Havas-owned BETC Euro RSCG, and Coca-Cola is also in the process of reviewing its $300m (£181.7m) US media buying account, currently at Universal McCann. The agency also lost creative assignments in Singapore and Vietnam.

Mother, which handles advertising for Coca-Cola brands Lilt and Dr Pepper, was brought in by the company to provide a fresh perspective on the core brand advertising in January this year.

However, in the wake of the recent creative presentations from McCann and Mother, Coke turned to retained US agency Berlin Cameron/Red Cell New York for ideas. It came up with the the "real" campaign featuring celebrities, with the Courtney Cox and David Arquette spot appearing in the UK.

It was unclear at the time if the Berlin Cameron arrangement was a short-term solution and it was thought that Mother or McCann could still handle Coke's main brand, Coke Classic, in the future.

Mother will adapt the strategy for the UK, with advertising due to break in early 2004.

Julia Goldin, marketing director for Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland, said: "We always want to find the best creative for our consumers -- campaigns which resonate with them and which they enjoy -- and especially on brand Coca-Cola, we look to surprise and delight our consumers. Mother's work for our other brands -- Schweppes, Lilt, Oasis and Dr Pepper -- has been memorably ground-breaking and we’re ready for more."

Other agencies that work for the soft drinks giant include Wieden & Kennedy, which created the "live football, sleep football, drink Coca-Cola" World Cup campaign, and Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest.

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