Diet Coke Drops Mother and Seeks New Agency for North-West Europe Region

Separately, Coke Names Ogilvy Latina as Lead Agency for a Cultural Leadership Platform

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Diet Coke's account for the North-West Europe region is up for grabs, as Coca-Cola seeks new agency relationships to help push the brand's collaboration with the fashion world.

Mother London, which became Diet Coke's lead agency for the region three years ago, created the "Love it Light" campaign, connecting with women through their love of fashion. This year Diet Coke introduced a collaboration with Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who created a series of distinctive bottles for the brand.

A statement from Coca-Cola said, "After a number of years of successful partnership on Diet Coke, we have decided not to renew our relationship with Mother . We are looking for a new way of working on the brand in North- West Europe as we take its collaboration with fashion to the next stage. We are therefore exploring partnering with a combination of content agencies with different expertise for 2013 and beyond. Mother remains a valued partner of The Coca-Cola Company and continues to work on our global and U.K. Olympic campaigns."

The brand's recent TV work using the "Love it Light" theme featured fashionista puppets. A Diet Coke spokesperson said via e-mail, "The 'Love it Light' campaign encourages women to enjoy the lighter side of life by tapping into their passion points of trends, fashion, content and fun, providing moments of pleasure and pick-me-up."

Jonathan Mildenhall, Coca-Cola's VP-global advertising strategy and excellence, spoke about the importance of content at The Guardian's "Changing Advertising Summit" in London recently. He said, "All advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of 24/7 connectivity. If you're going to be successful around the world, you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core."

Mr. Mildenhall –- a former strategy director at Mother -- also spoke about letting consumer feedback shape the creativity of the business, and said that Coca-Cola relies less on traditional agencies for ideas.

Coca-Cola and Mother will create more than 120 pieces of content to promote its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympics, compared with just three TV ads and six outdoor ads for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Coca-Cola has an unusual regional structure for Europe, with the area designated as North West Europe covering the U.K., Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland and the Nordic countries.

Separately, Coca-Cola announced today that Ogilvy Latina, Ogilvy's Latin America network, will be the lead agency for a new, global Cultural Leadership platform. The pitch was led by the network's regional director for Coca-Cola, Horacio Genolet, with Gaston Bigio, Ogilvy Latina's regional creative director. They worked with creatives and planners from various countries, including Brazil, Argentina, the U.K., Singapore and Germany.

In the U.S., the Diet Coke brand has been receiving increased attention since bypassing Pepsi Cola to become the country's second-largest soda seller. In the U.K., Diet Coke is still No. 3, after Coke and Pepsi.

Katie Bayne, president-general manager of sparkling beverages, told Ad Age earlier this year that the company was working to "balance spending and messaging" so that Diet Coke would have the kind of dialogue that a No. 2 brand should have. That resulted in a new fall push for the brand, which has traditionally spent most of its budget during the first quarter. Wieden & Kennedy handles Diet Coke in the U.S. and is behind the "Stay Extraordinary" campaign.

Contributing: Natalie Zmuda

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