After Coke Loss, Berlin Cuts 40-50% of Staff

NEW YORK WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell has let go of nearly half its staff following the loss last week of the $200 million North American Coke Classic account to Wieden + Kennedy, sources said.

Berlin Cameron here had about 100 employees, and the business accounted for roughly 40 percent of its revenue. About 35-40 staffers were notified that they were being laid off last week and cleared out on Friday, sources said.

In February 2003, Berlin Cameron wrested the Coke Classic account from Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson in New York with which it shared the business. Berlin Cameron created the “Real” campaign, which broke that year. The tagline morphed into “Make it real” earlier this year.

The shop had also handled Coke’s $20 million Dasani water brand until late last year, when it moved without a review to independent New York agency Anomaly.

The shop is still competing with Wieden for Coke’s global “iconic” assignment, which will be decided by the end of this month.

Neither agency executives nor a WPP representative were available for comment.

Berlin Cameron’s other clients include Samsung, Pfizer, Boost Mobile, Rubbermaid, White Wave Silk Soy Milk and New York Life.