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Flagship Y&R New York Office Faces Intra-Agency Competition

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NEW YORK ( -- Two months before an all-important annual meeting with bottlers, Cadbury Schweppes has widened the call for creative ideas on its Dr Pepper soft drink within Y&R, its agency for nearly four decades.
Cadbury Schweppes is 'challenging the creative teams to come up with new ideas' on Dr Pepper.
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Jim Trebilcock, senior vice president of marketing for carbonated soft drinks, said, “We’re challenging the creative teams to come up with new ideas. They’re giving us their top creative teams. We’re trying to get the best work possible.”

Within past month
Until now, Cadbury has relied on creative solely from the agency’s New York office. The call for additional creative contributions within the Y&R network, part of WPP Group, happened within the past month, Mr. Trebilcock said.

"We have a legacy of pretty terrific advertising to measure up to," Mr. Trebilcock said. "The initial stuff we had seen was good, but it just wasn't a home run."

The move allows more creative teams in the network to pitch ideas from other offices, including New York. Mr. Trebilcock said he is "very happy" with the agency structure on another Cadbury brand, 7 UP, since it moved creative to Y&R, San Francisco, last year.

Dual reporting structure
Y&R has a dual reporting structure with the San Francisco office and the flagship New York office to provide creative and account management. The move on the 7 UP account last year preceded Y&R's financial consolidation between offices that allows multiple offices to work on an account without financial or political silos. "It's working really well," Mr. Trebilcock said.

At the same time the agency is broadening its resources, Cadbury Schweppes has expanded its marketing resources group, which is the team of executives to which Y&R presents ideas. Sean Gleason recently joined Mr. Trebilcock and his boss, Chief Marketing Officer Randy Gier, as vice president. He comes from Pizza Hut, where he was vice president of advertising.

Cadbury Schweppes spent $69 million on Dr Pepper in 2004. Last year, case sales of Dr Pepper rose 0.1% and Diet Dr Pepper increased 16%, according to trade publication Beverage Digest.

Since 1969
Y&R, New York, has handled Dr Pepper since 1969. An agency spokeswoman said no comment on the matter.

Mr. Trebilcock said, “I don’t anticipate moving [Dr Pepper] out of the New York management.”

However, in the past two years, management on the account has shifted several times. Following the departure of longtime account chief John O’Brien, Bob Kantor, who joined Y&R in April 2004, took over responsibilities as global client leader for Dr Pepper and 7 Up. Mr. Kantor was laid off in early 2005 and replaced by Amy Frisch, who joined from outside Y&R as managing partner.

7 Up account
Y&R’s relationship with 7 Up has also been turbulent. In June 2004, Y&R narrowly retained creative and account management responsibilities on 7 Up after hard-fought review pitting the agency against MDC Partners’ Crispin Porter & Bogusky. One key factor in the account win was that creative duties were shifted out of New York to a team in the agency’s San Francisco office.

In 2004, Cadbury Schweppe's America's Beverages division, which includes Dr Pepper and 7 Up, represented 27% of Cadbury sales and 43% of operating profits, per analysts.

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