Coke Opens Web Review Portal

In a move designed to significantly expand its limited presence on the Internet, Coca-Cola Co. is poised to choose an interactive agency to handle online media planning and buying for its brand portfolio.
Blue Marble ACG, part of The MacManus Group, and Thunder House Online, McCann-Erickson’s interactive division, both in New York, met with Coke executives last week for a final pitch in the seven-figure assignment, sources said.
Thunder House executives had no comment. Calls to Blue Marble and Coke were not returned by press time.
Coke is one of the heavy spending advertisers noted for largely ignoring the Web and its potential to reach youth. The Atlanta-based client spent $277,408 for online ads in 1997; $33,048 through March, per InterMedia Advertising Solutions.
Earlier this year, the company ran a Web-based promotion aimed at teens for Cherry Coke, a brand which got its own Web site last year. Coke’s main site, www.coke.com, was designed by Martin Interactive, Richmond, Va.
D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, another unit of MacManus, handles traditional media planning; McCann does buying.
Coke has used several shops for Web work. Thunder House has created ads for Coke’s fountain brands.
Archrival Pepsi operates the pop culture-focused site Pepsi World. It also spends relatively little money on online media.