McCann recently won back the Chinese Coca-Cola account they lost to Leo Burnett back in 2007. The switch will not be affecting Leo Burnett's Publicis Groupe siblings or WPP's Ogilvy, which handle the Coca-Cola owned brands Sprite, Minute Maid and Fanta respectively. Thus far both McCann and Leo Burnett have declined to comment on the switch, instead choosing to deflect all calls on the matter to Coca-Cola. The shift follows a pitch led by McCann's Shanghai's chairman Tomaz Mok, regional business director Cia Hatzi, and group managing director Ellen Hou.
The company has invested more than $5 billion in the Chinese market since reentering it back in 1979 and has also built 43 plants in the region
Due to a decline in sales of sugary soft drinks such as Coca-Cola in developed markets such as the US and the UK (presumably due to the ever increasing panic over the obesity epidemic), many companies like Coca-Cola have shifted their marketing focus to emerging economies such as China. It's obviously been working for Coke, as the Asia-Pacific region is now its second largest market by revenue, with sales in the region accounting for 13% of the brand's overall sales last year. The company has invested more than $5 billion in the Chinese market since reentering it back in 1979 and has also built 43 plants in the region.
“Share a Coke with Bobby”
Coca-Cola set up a new unit with its agencies called 'The Red Lounge' around the time McCann lost the account to Leo Burnett Shanghai, a unit which combined members of Coke's marketing team with several other agencies, including Starcom, Heartland and Wwwins. The Red Lounge oversaw the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, which Coca-Cola sponsored globally, and as a part of that effort McCann Shanghai continued to work for the brand on a project-by-project basis. McCann works for Coke in more than 50 global markets throughout Latin America and Asia and has created numerous units dedicated to the soft drinks giants such as the Atlanta-based FitzCo//McCann and The Cyranos McCann in Spain.
McCann works for Coke in more than 50 global markets throughout Latin America and Asia and has created numerous units dedicated to the soft drinks giants
Coca-Cola has been trading on their “Share a coke” campaign for over a year now, but the company decided to double down on the idea with a new TV spot unveiled earlier in the Summer featuring an adorable dog called “Bobby” looking for a bottle with his name (literally) on it. The campaign also went viral once again recently when a young Scottish man asked his girlfriend to marry him by arranging the bottles of Coke in he fridge to read “Beautiful Eloise Will You Marry Me.” The campaign hit a bit of a snag in China, however, when the sheer volume of first name options forced the company to adopt generic pet names such as “Buddy” and “Sweetie Pie.” It's unclear whether or not this had any bearing on the company's decision to shake up marketing in the region and return to McCann.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He consumes a solid 2 litres of Coke Zero a day, but he can quit anytime (he just doesn't want to).