COKE FORMS IN-HOUSE PROMO AGENCY: SOFT-DRINK GIANT WILL USE OUTSIDE SHOPS 'AS NEEDED'

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Coca-Cola Co. has quietly established a new internal agency called Marketing Works, aimed at bringing more of the soft-drink giant's promotions in-house.

Insiders said the move represents a growing trend among advertisers eager to control spending on mushrooming promotional efforts, and could result in a decline in work for promotion agencies.

STARTING WITH SUMMER PROMO

The first promotion to be handled almost entirely by the in-house unit will be the "Coca-Cola Incredible Summer," giving away instant-win cash prizes of up to $100 using disposable MasterCard/Cirrus ATM Money Cards (AA, April 17).

Only one outside agency, McCracken Brooks Communications, Minneapolis, has been involved in that promotion, handling point of purchase.

Marketing Works "is still evolving, but its mission is to handle more promotions internally," said Coca-Cola spokesman Scott Jacobson, who declined to say how his company's regular promotion agencies will be affected.

"We'll still use agencies for promotions as needed, and especially for large-scale implementation and events requiring vehicles," he said. "Our promotions were always a collaborative process with agencies, and that will continue."

Coca-Cola named Ricki Fairley-Brown director of Marketing Works, which consists of two-thirds of the employees of Coca-Cola's former promotional services and brand graphics services department. A variety of integrated marketing experts have been hired as well, Mr. Jacobson said.

Insiders said Coca-Cola's move is aimed at improving efficiencies and maximizing integrated marketing opportunities as the company steps up promotions across all its soft-drink brands.

"We're very supportive of Coke creating Marketing Works to achieve the best practices in integrated marketing-it makes sense," said Keith McCracken, chairman of McCracken Brooks.

'POSITIVE EFFECT' EXPECTED

Mr. Jacobson said the new operation is expected to have a "positive effect" on the company's overall marketing efforts.

"We want to try to do more in-house, but outside agencies bring a lot to the table and we'll continue to use them judiciously," he said.

In addition to McCracken Brooks, agencies on Coca-Cola's promotion roster include Block & Nardizzi, Stamford, Conn.; Dugan Valva Contess, Morristown, N.J.; Highway One, San Francisco; and Upshot, Chicago. Each continues to consult

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