Coke Looks On, Off Roster for ‘Iconic’ Ideas

NEW YORK Agencies both on and off Coca-Cola’s roster will present ideas on how the brand can better leverage its icon status in international campaigns for the client’s flagship Coke Classic brand, sources said.

Agencies that received the “iconic brief” from Coke, according to sources, include IPG’s McCann Erickson, which handles Coke Classic in some overseas markets; Publicis Groupe’s Publicis and Bartle Bogle Hegarty (the latter is 49-percent backed by the French holding company and works on Coke brands from its Singapore office); independent Mother in London, which handles Coke Classic in the U.K.; WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell; MDC’s Crispin Porter & Bogusky; and independent Taxi in Toronto.

Berlin Cameron has handled Coke Classic in the U.S. since February 2003, and launched the current “Real” campaign one month earlier.

Sources said multiple offices of these shops are involved in forming ideas. Executives at the agencies either could not be reached or declined to comment.

The goal is to be able to run at least two spots and some billboard ads that are appropriate for any country, regardless of culture, sources said [Adweek, Aug. 11]. Billings on the assignment have not been determined.

Two weeks ago, Interpublic Group’s Campbell-Ewald in Warren, Mich., presented ideas on Coke Classic to svp, chief marketing officer Chuck Fruit, sources said. It was not clear if the shop was working from the so-called “iconic brief,” because that project is being handled by Marc Mathieu, who runs global brand advertising for Coke Classic, Javier Benito, North America CMO, and Esther Lee, the company’s chief creative officer. Sources said none of those executives were present at the Campbell-Ewald presentation.

A Campbell-Ewald rep declined to comment. A Coke rep declined to comment on the agency list.

There is currently no single agency working on international advertising; print and TV work are created and placed on a country-by-country basis.

In August, a Coke representative confirmed that the company had briefed some agencies on a project that would augment Coke Classic advertising, but disclosed no other information.

Presentations on the “iconic brief” will take place at Coke’s Atlanta headquarters before the end of this month, sources said.

The client spends upwards of $300 million in media worldwide on its Coke Classic brand.