10 Agencies Pitching Coke for ‘Open Happiness’ Follow-Up

By Patrick Coffee 

This morning we learned, via AdAge and internal sources, that ten different agencies will be in Atlanta this week pitching Coca-Cola.

The soft drink giant became the latest client to conduct what amounts to an internal global creative review by inviting its roster shops to pitch the concept behind its next big campaign.

In a move that has clearly been in the works for some time, the company wants a new concept to (presumably) supplant “Open Happiness,” the campaign launched by Wieden+Kennedy back in 2009.

The corporate statement to AdAge:

“We have invited a selection of our key agencies from around the world to bring their best thinking to Coca-Cola in order to create the strongest work for our flagship brand.

We are always pushing ourselves and our agencies to deliver world-class creative with global appeal that engages and entertains our consumers and drives business growth.

This process will help us harness thinking from some of the best agency minds from around the world to deliver the best possible work.”

According to the story’s source, W+K Portland, Ogilvy New York, and David will be the only North American shops competing. Others include Dentsu, FCB South Africa, Argentina’s Martin Mercado and Santo, and Sra Rushmore, McCann Madrid, and The Cyranos of Spain.

No word on how Coke picked the agencies in question or where it looks to go with its next messaging effort; a spokeswoman told AdAge that the company has “an open mind,” but almost all recent work for Coca-Cola focuses on one of two things: spreading good cheer or celebrating classic design.

For example, Wieden+Kennedy’s most recent work, “A Generous World,” went back to the “Coke making people happy” theme while a “100th anniversary of the bottle” campaign featuring work by Ogilvy Paris and others focused on the story behind the packaging (but ended up in pretty much the same place).

Like Weight Watchers’ recent decision to drop Wieden+Kennedy, Coke’s move comes as the brand struggles to maintain its market position as more and more consumers around the world lose interest in its key product.

Coke may well follow FIAT Chrysler and other clients in eschewing the traditional creative AOR model and assigning work on a project basis; the client says more than one agency could win the review.