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Coca-Cola names WPP global marketing partner

Coca-Cola names WPP global marketing partner
Written by publishing team

Diving Brief:

  • Coca-Cola has appointed WPP as its Global Marketing Network Partner, according to a press release. A bespoke team called OpenX will implement the CPG giant’s new integrated agency model, managing end-to-end marketing, media, data and marketing technologies across its entire portfolio.
  • In addition, Dentsu was selected as a complementary media partner in select markets, while agencies in the Publicis Groupe and IPG Networks were selected as members of an open source strategy roster that would represent a third of all marketing work.
  • The new integrated agency model is the result of a large-scale agency review that began in December 2020 as Coca-Cola sought to drive long-term growth by transforming the effectiveness and efficiency of its marketing. Coca-Cola’s ad spending fell 35% amid the peak of the pandemic, but the company returned to pre-pandemic spending levels earlier this year.

Diving Insight:

The appointment of WPP as partner of Coca-Cola’s global marketing network is a big win for the agency holding group, which will manage the lion’s share of the business for one of the world’s largest advertisers. While the CPG giant’s advertising expenditures have fallen from $4.25 billion in 2019 to $2.78 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic, the company has returned to pre-pandemic spending levels earlier this year.

The Coca-Cola Company is touting the partnership with WPP as “unparalleled” in scale and scope for both its company and the industry in general. Manolo Arroyo, chief global marketing officer, said in the press release that the integrated agency model that OpenX will implement on demand from WPP is designed to be consumer-centric and silo-free, with an emphasis on data-driven marketing. Coca-Cola will also use a common data and technology platform that connects marketing teams across categories and operating units with those of its partner agencies.

“This model is about the seamless integration of the power of big, bold ideas and creativity into experiences, which are amplified by media and data. It will enable us to create holistic experiences based on data-rich insights and optimized realism at time, at scale, as we have learned from consumers,” Arroyo said.

CMO cited WPP’s ability to deliver consumer experiences on a global scale with flexibility, speed, and data-driven insights required locally as reasons to set it. Arroyo told Ad Age that WPP’s geographic reach in regions including India, the Middle East, and parts of Asia and Africa gave the company an advantage over Publicis.

Global reach continues to be a major force for large advertising holdings, and competitors – including competitors Accenture Interactive and S4 – have increased their international footprint through mergers and acquisitions. Bets on acquisitions and areas such as data and e-commerce could help agency holding groups emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The four largest groups – WPP, Publicis, IPG, and Omnicom – have drawn from the ongoing recovery in digital advertising and recently posted healthy third-quarter earnings.

WPP will own about 90% of Coca-Cola’s media business, with Dentsu Media running Japan and Korea as a complementary media partner, Arroyo confirmed to Ad Age. Meanwhile, agencies that are part of IPG (including McCann and Mercado) and Publicis Groupe (including Publicis and Leo Burnett) will be part of a strategic slate that has yet to be finalized, depending on the age of the ad.

Prior to the agency audit, Coca-Cola worked with nearly 4,000 partner agencies around the world, including Wieden + Kennedy, Anomaly, McCann, and Interpublic’s UM, which had held a corporate media account in North America since 2015. It is now underway. Wieden + Kennedy and Anomaly are considered for the new strategic menu, for each ad age.

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