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CPB Gains Stronger Foothold on Coca-Cola Roster With Vitaminwater Campaign

'You're Up' Work Is Welcome Bright Spot for Agency

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Vitaminwater has begun working with CP&B, giving the shop a stronger foothold on the Coca-Cola roster.

MDC Partners' CP&B -- which is also a Coke Zero agency -- created Vitaminwater's newest ad campaign, titled "You're up," which includes TV, digital and out of home. It's welcome news, given that after a strong new-business run in 2010, the agency hit a rough patch in early 2011.

CP&B lost one of its biggest clients, Burger King, when the fast feeder -- which is plagued with dwindling same-stores sales -- in March announced it was parting ways with CP&B after a seven-year run and conducting a search to find a replacement. It also had a high-profile flare-up with Groupon over the Super Bowl ads it created for the website. Groupon at first defended the agency's work but later Groupon CEO Andrew Mason said he had placed too much trust in CP&B to successfully market Groupon.

The agency referred calls seeking comment to the marketer. A spokeswoman for Vitaminwater noted the new campaign "will run through the summer and it will be our largest campaign to date." The work--which features a cameo by NBA superstar Steve Nash, who has frequently shilled for the beverage brand--is understood to be being handled out of CP&B's Miami's office, which is led creatively by Ari Merkin.

The addition of CP&B to the roster could signal that the brand is ready to up ad spending again. According to Kantar, Vitaminwater spent $39 million on measured media last year, a marked decline from previous years. The brand spent $55 million in 2008 and $50 million in 2009.

The MDC Partners' agency is not, however, the beverage brand's agency of record, the spokeswoman said, adding the brand has not designated an AOR in the past. Vitaminwater continues to work with Ammirati, New York, on a project basis. But she noted it is no longer engaged with other shops that had been on its roster, including Publicis-backed Bartle Bogle Hegarty or WPP's Berlin Cameron. BBH was brought on in 2009 to handle the Vitaminwater 10 launch, while Berlin Cameron handled creative at the time of Coca-Cola's 2007 acquisition of the brand.

Last year, Vitaminwater's share of the enhanced and flavored water segment fell two points to 29%, while volume fell 6%, according to Beverage Digest. But the roll out of Vitaminwater Zero was off to a strong start, grabbing a 6% share of the segment in 2010.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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