Information has been trickling in over the bank holiday weekend to suggest that Ogilvy & Mather have won the consolidated global and North American accounts for Coke Zero. The agency had already been handling the brand outside the US, but until now, most North American marketing was handled by Droga5, with the McCann subsidiary Fitzgerald & Co also handling some assignments for the brand, including a college football campaign, which began later this month. The win is quite a coup for Ogilvy, as Coke Zero spent an estimated $41 million in measured media last year. The review pitted Ogilvy against the London Droga5 office, who won the account from Crispin Porter + Bogusky back in 2012. The global account, meanwhile, was handled by the Amsterdam office of Widen & Kennedy until Ogilvy won it in 2010.
The agency had already been handling the brand outside the US, but until now, most North American marketing was handled by Droga5
Quotes have been hard to come by, and will undoubtedly remain as such until an official announcement is made. A spokeswoman for the Coca-Cola company said that "Droga5 and Ogilvy are great roster agencies in North America and around the world,” and that the company is “Constantly evaluating ways to work with them,” across their vast portfolio of brands in “New and different ways." A spokeswoman from Droga5, meanwhile, remained tight-lipped. All she really did was repeat facts, stating that "Coke Zero was a US based business for a few years and recently they consolidated the U.S. and global business," and that the London office “Pitched it with help from the New York team,” but “Declined to pitch it out of New York."
Those familiar with the matter seem to believe that recent executive moves within the company might have prompted the Coke Zero review. Wendy Clark was appointed as president of sparkling and strategic marketing for the North American region back in May, moving over from a global role. Katie Bayne, who had been president of North America Brands and is the former CMO of Coca-Cola North America, also took on the job of senior vice president global sparkling brand centre around this time. Still, this news comes at a time when Coke Zero is set to surpass Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke) as the second largest soda brand in Europe.
Still, this news comes at a time when Coke Zero is set to surpass Coca-Cola Light (Diet Coke) as the second largest soda brand in Europe
The creative pitch was led by Chris Garbutt, Ogilvy & Mather's former CCO in France who helped shape global campaigns for Coca-Cola while working at the agency’s Paris office and was given the same role at Ogilvy East in New York in February. At Ogilvy in Paris, Garbutt oversaw Coca-Cola initiatives that included Coke Zero and others like Coke’s sharing can, which the French agency worked on along with the network’s Singapore office.
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and musician from Kidderminster in the UK. He gets through a solid 2 litres of Coke Zero almost every day and has yet to notice any unfortunate side-effects.