GSD&M traded in its "Coca-Cola, Texas" assignment for the $8-10-million, Miami-based Royal Crown Cola account last week, raising curiosities about why an agency would voluntarily split with one of the world's most powerful marketers.
The Austin, Texas-based agency, a late entrant into the Royal Crown review, won the pitch over finalists Backer Spielvogel Bates and Cliff Freeman & Partners, both of New York. The review had begun in June when RC fired Miami incumbent Crispin & Porter.
Coca-Cola spokesperson Bob Bertini said the company has not yet decided whether it will look for a new regional agency in Texas.
GSD&M president Roy Spence said the agency did not seek out the Royal Crown account, which includes both the RC and Diet Rite brands, but got a call from new RC president/ceo John Carson to join the review.
Spence said he did not know why Carson brought GSD&M in after the review was already in progress, and Carson couldn't be reached for comment. But Spence said Carson, who is English, learned about GSD&M and its culture through the agency's London-based parent, Gold Greenlees Trott.
"We looked for a firm that had a history of helping lesser-known clients fight the 'big boys' and their big ad budgets," Carson said in a statement, pointing to GSD&M's work for Wal-Mart Stores, Southwest Airlines and others.
RC and Diet Rite combined have a 3.5% market share, while Coke is at 47.7% and Pepsi at 41.4% for the 52 weeks ended May 16, according to Information Resources Inc.
GSD&M sources said Coca-Cola did nothing to drive GSD&M away, but the move is peculiar, given that the company's global presence might have presented opportunities one day for the GGT agency network. GGT officials couldn't be reached for comment.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)