In adland’s Olympics Wieden+Kennedy is way out in front so far in 2012, confirming once and for all that it can handle more than hip brands like Nike and Heineken (whose hipness is largely a W+K creation), with a growing influence at Procter & Gamble and its successful crusade to revive the fortunes of Chrysler in the US.
If W+K London can sprinkle some magic ad dust over recent big UK win £110m Tesco then it looks all but uncatchable.
But there is one agency on its tail, Droga5 which has just found its way on to the Coca-Cola roster with big-spending Coke Zero in the US. Droga5 has been one of the biggest hitters at Cannes over the past couple of years and all those clients who hit Le Croissette seem to have noticed.
The agency has snapped up a gaggle of Kraft brands including Athenos and Cracker Barrell and also won Aussie airline Qantas globally. On Coke Zero it supplants seven-year incumbent Crispin Porter+Bogusky (which is not in the race at the moment) by beating off stiff competition from Leo Burnett, which recently won Sprite in the US, lively Ogilvy Paris, which handles Coke Zero in Europe and MDC’s 72andSunny.
Coke, under marketing supremo Jonathan Mildenhall, formerly of Mother London, is happy to use a roster of top creative agencies and Droga5 will be aware that the likes of Ogilvy Paris and W+K (US and Amsterdam) are waiting in the wings.
But the company, still one of the world’s most powerful marketers, has shown that you don’t need huge networks for huge brands – Droga5 being even more ‘micro’ in the network stakes than W+K.