Anomaly Picks Up Diet Coke as the Soda Eyes Big Changes

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Diet Coke has selected Anomaly to handle a significant creative assignment as Coca-Cola Co. prepares to reposition the struggling soda brand. The marketer put Diet Coke into review last year after parting ways with Droga5 in what was described as a mutual decision to split. Anomaly will handle the brand from its Los Angeles office.

Coke confirmed Anomaly's selection in a statement to Ad Age: "Coca-Cola North America marketing maintains a strong roster of agencies that help craft meaningful communication for our brands. Diet Coke has selected Anomaly L.A. for its latest brand creative assignment. We look forward to collaborating with the team to develop new work for Diet Coke."

The win continues Anomaly's new-business streak. The MDC Partners agency -- which was named Ad Age's Agency of the Year today for its 2016 accomplishments -- went 14 for 14 last year on pitches, including picking up an assignment to handle Coca Cola Co.'s communications strategy for its 2018 World Cup sponsorship.

Diet Coke, which is the top-selling diet soda in the U.S., has struggled in recent years along with all diet sodas. Dollar sales fell 3.7% in 2016, according to Nielsen data cited by Wells Fargo. No. 2 Diet Pepsi had a worse year, plummeting 10%. Six of the top nine diet sodas experienced a sales drop for the year, according to Wells Fargo.

Coca-Cola Co. global Chief Marketing Officer Marcos de Quinto foreshadowed major changes for Diet Coke in a speech at an industry conference late last year in which he noted the struggles that all diet brands are having. "We are working on a relaunch of Diet Coke and we have some preliminary results and we are very confident that we are going to be able to change that," he said at during a December presentation in New York at an event put on by Beverage Digest.

Coke a year ago implemented a new "one-brand" strategy in which its multiple varieties are united within the single "Taste the Feeling" campaign. However, Coca-Cola will likely continue to run dedicated marketing for Diet Coke in the U.S. where it remains a big, albeit declining, brand.

For the first 10 months of 2016, the company spent $39 million in measured media on Diet Coke, according to the latest data from Kantar Media. On TV, Diet Coke has been running ads that Droga5 created in 2015 that are part of the "Get a Taste" campaign the agency launched in 2014.

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