Coke Awards Barkley NCAA Job

CHICAGO Coca-Cola North America has tapped independent agency Barkley Evergreen & Partners to handle its NCAA sponsorship, the shop confirmed.

Though the Kansas City, Mo., agency has handled projects for various groups at the Atlanta-based beverage giant, the assignment is the first ongoing commitment from the company, according to the shop.

“We’ve been proving ourselves by providing smart ideas and executing creatively on a number of different projects,” said Joe Sciara, senior vice president at BE&P, in a statement. “This represents a great new opportunity with Coca-Cola to work more closely with them in their relationship as ‘Official Corporate Champion of NCAA.’ “

The agency’s first assignment will be to help Coca-Cola develop its sponsorships of more collegiate championship events, particularly those that have already been well established and are experiencing growth such as lacrosse and hockey. (The agency will not work on the NCAA Final Four because that work had already been assigned, said Dan Fromm, president of Barkley Evergreen Sponsorship and Events.)

The assignment came after a review of undisclosed agencies, Fromm said. He would not disclose billings for the account.

The work comes one month after BE&P reorganized its new business team, putting 20-year agency veteran (and public relations president) Mike Swenson in charge of the $460 million shop’s new business efforts. The shop also moved Andy Ernsting, who had been heading new business for the agency’s PR division, into a more general new business role and added Goodby, Silverstein & Partners veteran Marty Wenzell as director of client strategy.

Barkley’s sponsorship and events division was formed in March 2003, when the agency purchased Three Wide Marketing.