Diet Coke Enlists Wieden For TV Ad Project

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Coca-Cola Co. has assigned two Diet Coke TV commercials to Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., once again going beyond agency of record Lowe & Partners/SMS, New York, as the diet soft-drink market remains flat.


Some believe the Wieden work portends an eventual shift of the account to that agency.

A Coca-Cola spokesman confirmed the Wieden project, but declined to characterize the nature of the assignment and said the account isn't currently in review.

"We're not going to talk about what our plans may be for Diet Coke, other than to say [Wieden] has been given a creative assignment," the spokesman said.

Lowe, which has three new 30-second Diet Coke TV spots airing under the "You are what you drink" theme, remains the brand's agency of record. Lowe is also about to test up to five new spots, according to executives close to Coca-Cola, who expect the commercials to air within two months.

Last year, spending on the brand appeared to be down, with just $39 million in measured media for the first nine months of 1997, Competitive Media Reporting said, vs. $72 million for all of 1996.

The beverage giant, which spent more than $1.4 billion in worldwide advertising in 1997, is known to assign creative projects to non-AOR shops Just last year, it aired a Diet Coke spot in the U.S. that was created by Leo Burnett Co. in Italy.

Wieden handles global sports marketing for the flagship Coca-Cola brand, and is the agency of record for Barq's root beer.

Some Coca-Cola agency executives, however, believe the Diet Coke account may eventually move to Wieden, especially since the project comes during an audit of creative assignments among all shops (AA, Nov. 17).

"It wouldn't surprise me if we didn't have the brand in six months but that's not to say we won't," said one Lowe executive.

Wieden's Diet Coke work is slated to hit late in the first quarter.

Contributing: Mercedes M. Cardona, Laura Petrecca.

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