Confirming speculation last week, Ogilvy & Mather has announced it is taking over the global duties for Coca-Cola brands Fanta and Sprite. Part of a wider agency realignment broadly in favour of Interpublic Group, Coke’s selection of the WPP-owned shop comes at the expense of Sprite incumbent Lowe Lintas & Partners (an IPG shop), while the Fanta account had been split between several agencies, including Soul in the UK and Cliff Freeman & Partners in America.
Commented Paul Simons, chairman/ceo of Ogilvy UK: “It’s very good news in these gloomy times and we’re absolutely thrilled.” His enthusiasm is not without foundation – billings on the Sprite account are estimated at $85 million in the US alone.
The realignment is the work of Steve Heyer, president/chief executive of Coke’s new business ventures arm since March and a former WPP board member. It appears to mark a shift from the year-old “think local, act local” approach instigated by chairman/chief executive Douglas Daft towards a more centralised strategy.
However, the message does not seem to have reached some of the soft drinks giant’s local marketing departments. Coca-Cola UK insisted: “We are retaining the agencies we currently have in the UK and there are no current plans to change.”