Coke's CAA creatives open shop

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Coca-Cola Co. said Thursday it has signed a deal to create a new company that will be responsible for creative development of its global "Always Coca-Cola" advertising.

Shelly Hochron, Len Fink and Jack Harrower, who have been handling the "Always" creative duties as contractors of Creative Artists Agency, Beverly Hills, Calif., for the past three years, will be the principals of the unnamed company. The three will open a new office in the Los Angeles area and continue developing ads for the campaign, said Sergio Zyman, chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola. Though they will be considered minority owners of the new company, they will not make investments in it.

Walt Disney Co. will also own a small share of the company, also without a financial investment. Nor will Disney gain any financial return, as the company will not generate revenue. Mr. Zyman said it will operate like a cost center, with Coca-Cola covering overhead and operating expenses and paying salaries and bonuses to the creative team. The primary benefit for Disney appears to be allowing its president, Michael Ovitz, to maintain a relationship with the creative team and Coca-Cola executives that he built as chairman of CAA.

Coca-Cola said the deal won't affect its other agency relationships or its existing co-marketing contracts with Disney.

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