McCann Wins Back Coke in China

Lost brand to Leo Burnett in 2007

McCann has won back creative duties for brand Coke in China, taking over from Leo Burnett, which picked up the business and key executives from the Interpublic agency in 2007, according to Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Not affected by the switch are Burnett's Publicis Groupe corporate siblings BBH and Saatchi, which handle Coca-Cola brands Sprite and Minute Maid, respectively, as well as WPP’s Ogilvy, with oversight of Fanta, sources told Campaign.

McCann declined comment, referring calls to Coca-Cola. Reps at the marketer and at Leo Burnett could not immediately be reached.

Amid declining soda sales in developed markets like the U.S., soda makers like Coca-Cola have been increasing ad spending in emerging economies like China. While the company does not break out China sales separately, the Asia-Pacific region is now its second-biggest market by revenue, accounting for 13 percent of overall sales in 2013. Since re-entering China in 1979, Coca-Cola has invested more than $5 billion in the local market and established 43 plants.

In 2007, when Coca-Cola moved the Coke account to Burnett Shanghai, the company set up a new unit with its agencies called Red Lounge. The initiative also included Coke execs to oversee brand marketing as well as the company's efforts for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, of which Coca-Cola was a global sponsor. As part of that effort, McCann Shanghai continued to work on a project basis for Coke.

McCann Worldgroup works for Coke in more than 50 global markets in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region. The company has created dedicated units like Atlanta-based FitzCo//McCann, a combination of ad agency Fitzgerald+Co. and McCann, and another in Spain known as The Cyranos McCann.