COKE ASKS OUTSIDE AD AGENCIES TO PITCH SPRITE ACCOUNT

Says Ogilvy & Mather Remains Agency of Record

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Coca-Cola Co. has asked four independent ad agencies to pitch it ideas for its $43 million Sprite account, according to the company.
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The soft-drink giant has invited Wieden & Kennedy of Portland, Ore., Modernista of Boston, WongDoody of Seattle, and DiNoto of New York to offer their concepts, a company spokesman said. He also said the list of agencies is fluid.

Youth audience
Coca-Cola said WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, would remain its agency of record. A Coke spokesman said the company is looking for agencies with a talent for talking to youth audiences. He said a list of agencies would likely be finalized by next week but that he did not know when a decision would be in hand.

"As we work on our base brand [Sprite], our goal is to have the very best ideas possible. We've invited several agencies to participate along with Ogilvy," the spokesman said. "We are asking for creative ideas. We are not pitching the account."

Coca-Cola handed Sprite to Ogilvy at the end of 2001, and the agency continued the "Obey your thirst" campaign with a related effort tagged "What's your thirst?" which features basketball star Kobe Bryant.

On Coke's roster
Wieden handles Coca-Cola's Powerade, and DiNoto, formerly known as Dinoto Lee, was co-founded by Esther Lee, who joined Coca-Cola in September 2002 as chief creative officer for North America, overseeing media, creative and agencies for all brands of the world's largest soft-drink company.

A Sprite extension, Sprite Remix, is not part of Coca-Cola's search for creative ideas, the Coca-Cola spokesman said.