Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Coke views big agency networks

The August issue of the UK's Creative Review features an article titled "Coke: a simple story" which features Pio Schunker, Coca-Cola's "senior vice president for creative excellence, North America." Schunker, who used to work for Ogilvy New York, oversees a roster that includes Widen + Kennedy, Mother, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, and Turner Duckworth. He's also responsible for approving Coke's new look and "steadily piloting the idea through the Coke labyrinth."

"Their biggest battle, convincing Coke marketers that, no, it wasn't necessary to have a picture of some bubbles on the side of the can. People know Coke is a fizzy drink."
Two ideas about agencies really stood out to me in this piece:

  1. Schunker (remember a former Ogilvy guy) deliberately went with independents like Wieden and Mother. "The big networks, he says, were just giving Coke what they thought it wanted, not what they themselves believed in. He wanted to work with agencies and design studios who would, rather than simply 'stick around for the pay cheque', believe in what they were doing and walk away if they didn't get to do it."
  2. Schunker sees a problem with big agencies because of their well-intended, but fractured departments. "Big networks, he has said, typically present themselves as the 360 degree solutions ' but tend to be a loose confederation of completely disjointed companies that are so busy fighting with each other to figure out who gets the business, they can't be bothered to figure out how to solve our business.'"
As recent posts have shown, more agencies are diversifying their interests when they can. They buy design or interactive shops, or branch out into product development. But having "360 degree solutions" isn't really a solution if each tentacle is grasping for its own interest instead of the client's.

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