WPP Is Big Winner in Coke's Global Creative Review

Ogilvy, Sra Rushmore and Santo Will Lead Next Big Campaign

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'Share a Feeling' from Coca-Cola Singapore
'Share a Feeling' from Coca-Cola Singapore

Coca-Cola Co. has selected three WPP agencies to lead its next big global campaign for brand Coke, completing a review that began in March and involved 10 roster shops. Emerging victorious are Ogilvy, New York; Sra Rushmore of Madrid; and Santo of Buenos Aires, the marketer confirmed to Ad Age.

"We set out in this process with the goal of uncovering the best ideas and marrying those to executional excellence, anticipating that they may come from different sources," Coke said in a statement. "The outcome is that we will be moving forward with a networked agency approach, partnering with three of the 10 agencies in the initial stages to create the first round of creative work for Coca-Cola."

The approach "allows us to harness thinking from some of the best agency minds in the industry today and see the great work that comes from collaborating against a common brief for Coca-Cola." The seven agencies that participated in the review but did not make the final cut will remain on Coke's roster and will "contribute to the final pool of work," the company stated.

That includes Wieden & KennedyPortland, which has been a key agency in the U.S. for Coke. W&K created the ongoing "Open Happiness" campaign that debuted in 2009 and emerged as a global platform for most ads. It is possible that "Open Happiness" could be shelved, although a Coke spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the timing and details of the new campaign under development by the three lead shops.

Other shops invited to pitch for the review that began in late March in Atlanta included David; Dentsu; FCB of South Africa, Mercado McCann in Buenos Aires; McCann of Madrid and The Cyranos McCann in Barcelona.

The review marks the first big agency move under Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto, who took over as CMO in January. Mr. De Quinto, formerly the president of Coca-Cola's Iberia business unit, is familiar with Sra Rushmore via his previous post. The agency worked on a spot called "Benditos Bares," or "Blessed Bars," along with Carat that drew praise across Spain last year.

The ad is an ode to the many cozy, inviting bars that are integral to both the Spanish culture and economy, as Ad Age reported last October.

Santo was named Ad Age's International Agency of the Year in 2010, soon after Santo won Vodafone's global creative account.

Santo's positioning has always been to work for the world from Argentina, and Coca-Cola was one of its first clients. One of Santo's two partners, Sebastian Wilhelm, moved to Miami last month and will eventually open a Santo office there because they're doing so much work for U.S. clients like Coke, Avon and Diageo. At this point, Santo's business is about 60% international and 40% local Argentina accounts, said Maxi Anselmo, Santo's other partner.

Ogilvy's inclusion further cements the shop's status as a favored Coke agency. The agency is in position to handle some media-strategy assignments as part of a separate North American media-agency review that the marketer recently completed.

Coca-Cola Co. selected UM as the lead media agency for North America, but the company is embracing what it calls a "hybrid approach" that will include handing some media-strategy assignments to other shops. Ogilvy could be considered along with other shops such as Spark SMG, an executive told Ad Age last month.

Coca-Cola spent more than $406 million on measured media in the U.S. last year, according to Kantar Media. Spending is accelerating this year as the company implements a global cost-cutting program with some savings poured into media.

Contributing: Laurel Wentz

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