Coke Inks Global Buy With Clear Channel Outdoor

'Pioneering' Deal in a Primarily Local Industry

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NEW YORK ( -- Clear Channel Outdoor has inked a first-of-its-kind global media buy with beverage maker Coca-Cola Co. Paul Meyer, president-CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor, calls it "pioneering. I suspect there's been no other advertiser that's done something like this."
The partnership will play a prominent role in the global rollout of the 'Coke Side of Life' campaign.
The partnership will play a prominent role in the global rollout of the 'Coke Side of Life' campaign.

The multiyear agreement, negotiated directly between Clear Channel Outdoor and Coke, allows for collaboration in the design, development and placement of billboards, signs and other out-of-home elements. "Usually, outdoor is bought on a country-by-country basis," a Coke spokesman said, "and is used as a more tactical rather than strategic tool. This deal allows us to work more strategically in executing our efforts around the world."

Campaign's global rollout
The partnership will play a prominent role in the global rollout of the "Coke Side of Life" campaign. "As a company, we don't always have the best insights of how to adapt a campaign in particular regions," the Coke spokesman said. "Clear Channel knows what formats have worked in each market and can advise us."

What's more, Clear Channel Outdoor may also develop specific ideas for Coke, and roll them out in several markets. Clear Channel operates in more than 50 countries across six continents. "We are excited to work with Coca-Cola in each local market to meet the specific needs of that market," said Mr. Meyer, who characterized the deal as "having the potential to be significant in the aggregate."

Mr. Meyer would not comment on specific financial terms of the deal, citing confidentiality. Coke spent $23 million in the U.S. on outdoor media in 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence; global spending could not be determined. A spokesman for Coca-Cola would not comment.

Recent acquisitions
Clear Channel is the largest outdoor player in the U.S. In recent weeks, Clear Channel Outdoor announced two international acquisitions: the $200 million purchase of Interspace Services, an airport advertising company in about 200 midsize airports located throughout the Americas and the Pacific Rim, and the acquisition of Van Wagner's U.K. operations, which include about 70 billboards in London, most notably the iconic LED screen in Piccadilly Circus, as well as sites at London Bridge and the M4 Motorway.

The company has also been aggressive in expanding its digital networks. Plans call for the launch of a new digital network in London, similar to ones stateside. In New York, for instance, Clear Channel operates street-level digital signs; in Cleveland and Las Vegas, it operates roadside digital signs.

Coke will continue to work with other outdoor companies on a local basis, the spokesman said.

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Abbey Klaassen contributed to this report.
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