SBJ/September 17 - 23, 2007/This Weeks News

Marketers square off in Atlanta for Coke’s business

Eight marketing agencies will make their pitch to lead some of Coca-Cola’s most visible sports platforms as the soft-drink giant looks to consolidate its agency roster.

Barkley, Creative Presence Partners, CPC Marketing, IMG, Momentum, Octagon, Relay and Wasserman Media Group are scheduled to present at Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta starting Thursday.

Coca-Cola has worked with myriad agencies on its sports sponsorships, some focusing on strategy and others specializing in activation and experiential marketing. This effort to re-evaluate and consolidate its sports agency roster is part of a larger effort by Coca-Cola North America to reduce redundancies among its marketing partners.

Coke is the official soft drink of NASCAR and the PGA Tour, its Powerade brand is the title sponsor of the NHRA’s top series and Coke is an NCAA corporate champion.

Industry insiders say that the brand’s Olympic business will not be part of this agency search. Sprite’s NBA sponsorship and its relationship with LeBron James isn’t involved, either, although that could change.

Officials from Coke and the agencies refused to comment.

It’s possible that one agency could be selected for strategy and execution or that one could be picked for strategy and one for execution.

Momentum has done work for Coke for more than 10 years on the NASCAR and Olympic platforms. IMG’s consulting office in Charlotte also has done some work on Coke’s NASCAR sponsorships, where the soft drink title sponsors the May race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and recently obtained title sponsorship to the July race in Daytona, in addition to pouring rights at most International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks.

Creative Presence Partners has handled much of Coke’s NCAA activation, including My Coke Fest at the Final Four last season.

Wasserman recently acquired OnSport, which handled some of Coke’s activation against the PGA Tour, while Relay’s ties with Coke involve international soccer. Barkley posts Coke on its client list, but the specifics are not clear.

CPC Marketing has assisted Coke with experiential marketing in the NFL and the Olympics.

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