McCann's green light for production on new Diet Coke work comes at a time when the pitch for the world's most popular diet soft drink enters endgame. Sources said Coke marketing czar Sergio Zyman could make the pick of who will get the business in the next few weeks so Coke can have a new campaign in place by the first quarter.
Other agencies making final pitches last week and early this week include the incumbent D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Wieden & Kennedy and Fallon McElligott.
However, McCann isn't the only IPG sibling with an interest in the $80 million Diet Coke business. The Lowe Group's tandem of Frank Lowe and Lee Garfinkel are also making a strong push to win the business. Sources said Frank Lowe is point man on the Diet Coke charge, while Lowe & Partners executives concentrate on the agency's existing Coca-Cola business.
The likelihood that Diet Coke will stay in the IPG stable was boosted with the news last week that IPG was wrapping up final negotiations with Coca-Cola on the first formal contract in the long history between the two groups. The contract is believed to be multi-year with standard escape clauses and covers Coke's roughly $500 million worldwide business. One of the holdups, according to sources, is the Diet Coke pitch. However, sources close to Coke said that the client would reduce IPG's compensation in 1994 because it will siphon some money over to Creative Artists Agency. Coke paid CAA this year with a budget over and above IPG's compensation, but Coke North American chief Douglas Ivester has told his employees that situation won't repeat itself, according to sources.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)