COKE CALLS BACK HEADROOM CREATOR

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The newest addition to Coca-Cola Co.'s incredibly expanding agency roster is the Ad Store, a tiny New York creative shop headed by the creator of bizarre Coke character Max Headroom.

In an ironic appointment, Paul Cappelli, a former senior VP-deputy creative director at McCann-Erickson Worldwide, has been given the nod to do as many as 10 spots for Coca-Cola Classic. His agency is the smallest yet to join the company's roster.

Mr. Cappelli is working on packaging-related special projects for Coke Classic, a Coca-Cola spokesman said.

The assignment is only the second main brand-related work commissioned from an entity other than Creative Artists Agency since that Beverly Hills, Calif., talent agency whisked the U.S. creative account from McCann in 1992.

Since then, scores of Coca-Cola Classic ads have included only a handful of spots from McCann. Ads from Fallon McElligott, Minneapolis, have promoted Coca-Cola Classic's contour-bottle trademark.

Mr. Cappelli couldn't be reached for comment, but it's known that the 39-year-old executive has been angling for a Coke assignment since 1992, when he left McCann to join now-defunct AC&R as exec VP-executive creative director.

He formed the Ad Store in October 1993 as a creative "a la carte" agency, a structure he modeled, perhaps presciently, after CAA's creative organization. Under both systems, a small, core group of full-time executives marshal free-lance creatives on an as-needed basis. Media, also, is outsourced.

McCann discussed buying Mr. Cappelli's outfit in '94 before forming its own ad hoc creative unit.

Despite creative machinations, McCann has maintained its stronghold on Coca-Cola's U.S. media buying account. Overseas, however, McCann has lost pieces of creative and media assignments in a series of international agency reviews that are expected to continue.

Last month, Coca-Cola Japan consolidated its estimated $200 million in media buying at Dentsu, a big hit for McCann.

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