Coca-Cola Names Joseph Tripodi as CMO

Allstate Exec Fills Role Left Empty by Mary Minnick

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Coca-Cola Co. named Joseph V. Tripodi, one of Madison Avenue's most vocal clients, as its new chief marketing and commercial officer -- marking the first time Coke is putting one executive in charge of advertising and marketing as well as point-of-purchase experience and in-store marketing.

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Joseph Tripodi, while still CMO at Allstate Insurance, took marketers to task for allowing their ads to skew more toward entertainment then a clear consumer value proposition. He warned them not to be 'seduced by the new thing' in advertising.

Mr. Tripodi fills a position at Coke left empty since Mary Minnick, Coke's exec VP-marketing, strategy and innovation, left in February after being passed over for the beverage maker's chief operating officer position.

Shopper experience

Coke has identified the shopper experience and relationships with stores as an opportunity to help push growth, said Kelly Brooks, a company spokesman. Coca-Cola has tried to push U.S. sales and build on growth. The company recently purchased Glaceau.

Mr. Tripodi was senior VP-chief marketing officer for Allstate Insurance Co., a post he had held since November 2003. Allstate said Joan H. Walker, its senior VP-corporate relations, would serve as the insurer's interim chief marketing officer while retaining her current duties.

Mr. Tripodi's three-plus years at Allstate coincided with a renaissance period at the Illinois-based insurer.

Arriving at a moment when Allstate was stumbling amid deep-pocketed challenges from upstarts such as Geico and Progressive, Mr. Tripodi helped stabilize the business by green-lighting a major boost in marketing spending that's paid dividends since.

Surprised observers

His team also surprised many observers by retaining longtime agency Leo Burnett, which responded by producing the "Our Stand" campaign starring actor Dennis Haysbert that has been Allstate's answer to the now-ubiquitous ducks, geckos and cavemen that have become synonymous with insurance advertising.

At Coke, he will have his hands full. The company in recent years has been perceived as sluggish on the marketing front, shifting gears from one ad campaign -- and ad agency -- to the next. Coke seems to have gained traction with work from independent Wieden & Kennedy talking about the "Coke side of life." Its Super Bowl ads -- the first time Coke has purchased ads in the game in years -- were widely considered more fun and creative than those from rival PepsiCo. Concurrently, Coca-Cola has worked to reduce its dependence on its famous flagship drink by purchasing Energy Brand, best known for its Glaceau Vitaminwater, for $4.1 billion, as well as Fuze Beverage, a maker of juices and teas.

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