Despite last year's disappointing Coke Classic campaign from Cliff Freeman and Partners, the agency appears to be in the beverage giant's good graces.
Without a review, Coke has awarded creative duties to the New York shop to launch KMX, its new high-energy drink.
"They've worked on other parts of our business, and we thought they'd be a good fit for this brand," said client representative Susan McDermott. The shop has handled Fanta and Cherry Coke since 1996.
Cliff Freeman is also competing for creative duties on PowerAde's estimated $30 million business, which went into review last month.
The KMX launch and PowerAde review come as Atlanta-based Coke seeks to grow sales of its flagship Coke Classic while trying to gain market share in the alternative-beverage category. The first KMX campaign, relying on print and radio, is expected to launch in mid-June.
The estimated media spend on KMX, a caffeinated, lightly carbonated, citrus-flavored drink, is $5-10 million. It's targeted at adults ages 19-29 "who are after new experiences and trends, and are looking for the energy for that," McDermott said. KMX competes with Red Bull, made by Red Bull International in Austria.
The other roster shops vying for PowerAde, which competes with PepsiCo's Gatorade, are incumbent McCann-Erickson in New York, Berlin Cameron & Partners in New York and Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore. Presentations start later this week. MediaVest handles media on both brands.
PowerAde's failure to make a mark in the sports-drink category dominated by Gatorade has spurred "a very heightened interest in PowerAde" among Coke executives, sources said. "They wanted to make sure that they were looking at every resource they could to make sure they were getting the best solution [for PowerAde]," said a source.