Agency Beat Out Crispin, Porter & Bogusky

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In an apparent endorsement of its long-standing relationship with the Young & Rubicam advertising agency, Cadbury Schweppes' Americas Beverages unit will not farm out a 7 UP assignment to a
Y&R has had the 7 UP ad account since 1969.
competitor, according to executives with knowledge of the matter.

Y&R, a unit of WPP Group, has handled the 7 UP account since 1969. The brand last year received $25 million in measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

Hot competition
The incumbent was competing for the work against MDC Partners-backed Crispin, Porter & Bogusky of Miami. In another struggle between the same two agencies in January, Crispin took the $335 million Burger King Corp. account away from Y&R.

The pitch for 7 UP included an undisclosed new product launch, rumored to be for 7 UP Plus, a citrus-juice-infused line extension. It is unclear whether that work would be handled exclusively by the advertising agency or another WPP unit.

Possible Olympic sponsorship
Another executive suggested the effort included an Olympic sponsorship, although that could not be confirmed by press time.

Both Y&R and Crispin declined to comment. Cadbury executives didn't return repeated calls for confirmation.

It is also believed that those approached to take part in the competition included Havas' Arnold Worldwide, Boston, and another MDC-backed agency, Cliff Freeman & Partners in New York. Cliff Freeman picked up the Cadbury's $10 million Snapple account in May.

Sweeping corporate review
Cadbury Schweppes' Americas Beverages in April said it was not conducting a review but holding a competition for a new 7 UP campaign. The agency talks came as Randy Gier, the company's new executive vice president for marketing, conducted a comprehensive portfolio review of everything from marketing strategies to brand teams.

Cadbury's three beverage units were combined last year under the Americas Beverages banner. A cost-cutting initiative was enacted to shift savings to marketing and innovation.

Battered sales
Cadbury's beverage sales were hammered in 2003 by declining soft-drink sales and PepsiCo's coup to have its bottlers replace 7 UP with its own Sierra Mist brand. Volume share for 7 UP fell 27.8% in 2003, while Sierra Mist surged 89.3%, according to Beverage Marketing Corp.

7 UP is the country's No. 10 best-selling soft drink, one notch behind Sierra Mist, according to Beverage Digest.

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Kate MacArthur contributed to this report.

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