Coke Expected to Unveil Global Agency Realignment

NEW YORK–The Coca-Cola Co. Friday is expected to unveil a sweeping global agency realignment that comes at the expense of Bcom3’s Leo Burnett and D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles as well as Wieden + Kennedy. The consolidation is intended to “anchor” most of its brands at two holding companies-WPP Group and Interpublic Group, sources said.

Portland, Ore.-based Wieden is expected to lose its Diet Coke and Powerade accounts. U.S. spending on the agency’s global Diet Coke business is estimated at $25 million: Powerade at $60 million. Sources said Leo Burnett is also being eliminated from Coke’s roster by losing its $40 million U.S. Minute Maid account.

The likely beneficiary of those three brands–Diet Coke, Powerade and Minute Maid–is IPG and its agencies, according to sources. WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather is expected to pick up Sprite from IPG’s Lowe Lintas & Partners, which spends about $85 million in the U.S. It is also expected to gain Fanta, which is split among several shops.

Burnett’s sister Bcom3 agency D’Arcy will lose Coke Classic’s NASCAR advertising for the U.S. Billings were unavailable. It could not be learned which agency would gain that business.

Sources said the impending consolidation is the reason Cliff Freeman and Partners resigned its Fanta and KMX business just weeks ago. The status of Berlin Cameron & Partners, an independent New York shop, which handles the estimated $25 million Dasani water account and the $1 million Mello Yello soda account, was unclear at presstime, sources said.

Executives at the agencies and holding companies referred calls to the client or could not be reached. Coke also could not be immediately be reached for comment.