Dooner Has Master Plan for Coca-Cola

NEW YORK — Interpublic Group CEO John Dooner is implementing a plan he is calling “The Coke Solution,” which calls for the creation of a new system to oversee and troubleshoot on one of the holding company’s biggest global accounts, Coca-Cola.

The initiative would unite account and creative executives from various IPG-Coke agencies and be steered by Bill Grogan, group management director at McCann-Erickson. The team would report to Gunnar Wilmot, IPG svp, planning and business development.

IPG’s McCann has been struggling on Coke Classic and has been trying to recruit a creative director on the account for months, and the holding company wants “to change the way the relationship is managed,” one source said.

“It’ll be a more organized way of dealing with the client that makes sense,” another source said, adding, “It means a clearer definition of roles [within IPG] and heightens awareness of those roles across agency resources.”

Grogan declined comment; Wilmot could not be reached. An IPG representative referred calls to Coke. Executives at the Atlanta client declined comment, but it is believed that the plan has received the blessing of Steve Heyer, president and chief operating officer of Coca-Cola Ventures, sources said.

Talk of “The Coke Solution” comes three months after WPP Group’s Berlin Cameron/Red Cell took the creative lead on Coke Classic.

The New York shop, led by chief creative officer Andy Berlin and ecd Ewen Cameron, is working with McCann on the campaign. But it was Berlin Cameron’s concepts that edged out those of McCann in testing in June, with a strategy that harkens back to the soft drink’s “real” positioning [Adweek, Sept. 30], sources said.

It was unclear if McCann’s concepts were based on the same strategy, but sources said the tagline McCann presented at the time was, “Just the thing.”