Coke shifts US media account to Starcom MediaVest

MUMBAI: Coca-Cola has shifted its US media planning and buying to Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group. Until now, Coke's domestic media buying and planning had been handled by three agencies Universal McCann, Starcom and MediaVest. The accounts are worth about $350 million.

Starcom MediaVest (SMG) is part of Publicis Groupe based in Paris, networks as Starcom in Chicago and MediaVest in New York. Coke heard pitches from four companies SMG, Interpublic Group's Universal McCann; Aegis Group's Carat; and WPP Group's MindShare, the only non-roster contender.

SMG will be responsible for integrated communication planning, media execution, strategic analysis and media tracking for the Atlanta-based company's entire portfolio of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, including soft drinks, waters, juices, sports drinks, teas and milk-based products, says an Atlanta Business Chronicle report.

Brands include, Coca-Cola classic and the family of Coke trademark products, such as Diet Coke, Vanilla Coke, Cherry Coke, Sprite, Powerade, Dasani, Fanta, Nestea brands, and Minute Maid juice brands. Media includes broadcast, print, outdoor and Internet advertising. According to the media reports, Coke's decision was closely watched by the US ad business.

The choice of Starcom MediaVest marks another blow for the Interpublic Group of Companies. With the change, Universal McCann, a unit of Interpublic, lost its media buying business with Coke in the United States. But Coke still works with Interpublic in a number of markets worldwide. The changes were spurred by an ongoing integration of Coke's three big North American units: Coca-Cola North America, Coca-Cola Fountain and Minute Maid, say the reports.

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