Coke Confirms: Sprite to CP+B

NEW YORK MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky has won Coca-Cola’s Sprite account in the U.S. following a shootout against the incumbent, WPP Group’s Ogilvy & Mather, the client confirmed.

Sprite, worth an estimated $45 million, is the second major addition for the Miami agency this week. CP+B on Tuesday landed the estimated $400 million Volkswagen of America account without a review.

The agency also handles the $10-15 million Coke Zero business, which it acquired earlier this year.

Earlier this summer, sources said Coke was looking for a new positioning for Sprite and wanted to replace the ad campaign’s 11-year-old tagline, “Obey your thirst” [Adweek, July 25].

In February 2004, Ogilvy introduced the character Miles Thirst, a streetwise, 10-inch puppet, who offered his musings in Sprite ads. NBA star LeBron James has also appeared in recent Sprite work. But sources said that Coke wants to introduce a celebrity-driven campaign in 2006 to accompany its package re-design for the Sprite brand.

Ogilvy won the Sprite business after a review of agencies in late 2001. The incumbent at that time was Interpublic Group’s Lowe in New York. The Atlanta company has looked beyond Ogilvy for ideas on Sprite in the past. In the summer of 2003 it listened to pitches from several agencies, but Ogilvy retained the business [Adweek, Aug. 25, 2003]. The New York shop continues to handle Coke’s Fanta brand.

Ogilvy referred calls to the client. CP+B executives were unavailable.

Coke spent $45 million in U.S. media on Sprite in 2004 and $25 million from January through June of this year, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

This story updates an item posted on Sept. 7 with Coke’s confirmation that CP+B has won Sprite.