WPP lands massive Coca-Cola global marketing task

Take that Publicis: WPP has ended Publicis Groupe’s run of big account wins with the biggest of the lot, Coca-Cola’s global network business encompassing creative, media and much else. Coke’s global adspend is currently about £3bn although, presumably, that’s set to increase.

WPP’s newly-minted OpenX agency is charged with managing end-to-end creative, media, data and marketing technology across the Coke brand portfolio.

Dentsu has kept some business as Coke’s “complementary” media partner while there will be a roster of creative agencies and a “common data and technology platform.” Interpublic and Publicis have won footholds in both these categories.

Coke global CMO Manolo Arroyo says: “Consumers respond to an entire experience – they don’t separate the message from the medium – and that’s why we’ve designed an agency model to be truly consumer-centric and silo-free.

“This model is about seamless integration of the power of big, bold ideas and creativity within experiences, amplified by media and data. It will enable us to create end-to-end experiences that are grounded in data-rich insights and optimized real-time, at scale, as we learn from consumers.”

WPP CEO Mark Read says: “We are delighted to be appointed as The Coca-Cola Company’s Global Marketing Network Partner, a catalyst for its transformation and growth, and to bring the outstanding creativity, data-rich insights and media expertise needed to create connected consumer experiences.

“This partnership, integrating our capabilities across content, media, data, production and technology, operating locally and globally, will complement The Coca-Cola Company’s globally networked organization. It’s unparalleled in our industry in terms of breadth and depth of capabilities, and reflects WPP’s scale and reach around the world.”

It is, indeed, a major achievement and a feather in the cap for Read. Such all-encompassing agency arrangements don’t always go as smoothly as their architects intend, as WPP well knows from previous experiences dating back to Dell and the ill-starred Enfatico agency. Personnel changes and powerful local managements have their own ideas and favourites.

It’s the biggest of big wins though and makes 2021 by far Read’s best since he took over over founder Sir Martin Sorrell in murky circumstances back in 2018.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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