COKE STICKS WITH OGILVY FOR SPRITE

Ends Review That Included Four Independent Shops

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- The Coca-Cola Co., which heard ideas from agencies for an assignment for its $43 million Sprite account, decided to go with new work from the brand's agency of record, Ogilvy & Mather, New York, the company said today.

Four independents
In addition to Ogilvy, four independent

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agencies pitched the soft-drink giant: WongDoody, Seattle; DiNoto, New York; Modernista!, Boston; and Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., a Coke roster shop for sports drink Powerade.

Ogilvy is part of WPP Group.

"The process going on has been a call for additional creative ideas from other agencies," a Coke spokesman said. "The review of those other agencies has been completed. The strongest idea has come from O&M and the brand is working with O&M to refine those ideas."

The spokesman said he didn't know when the work for the lemon-lime-flavored soft drink would break.

Declining sales
Sprite, which has been facing declining sales, had been under pressure from bottlers to come up with a new campaign. When Ogilvy failed to come up with a solution, the shootout was called. Agencies, however, were clearly told that the pitch was for an assignment only and that Ogilvy was not at risk of losing its status as agency of record.

Last week, Coke signed NBA rookie LeBron James to a six-year deal to promote Powerade and Sprite, which was previously endorsed by beleaguered basketball star Kobe Bryant behind the tagline "What's your thirst?"

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Kate MacArthur contributed to this report.

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