Coca-Cola in Portland split after Pepsi client conflict

Coca-Cola has launched a major corporate and public affairs hunt after a conflict of interest for incumbent Portland over arch-rival PepsiCo.

Review: Coca-Cola is in the early stages of a pitch process
Review: Coca-Cola is in the early stages of a pitch process

The FMCG giant is in the early stages of a pitch process for the retained work, which has been held by Portland since 2008.

The split comes after Portland’s recent majority buyout by Omnicom, which works on a global level with PepsiCo. Pepsi handed much of its advertising work to constituents of the marcoms group in the US earlier this year.

PRWeek now understands that an RFI has recently been issued, with the winning agency expected to start work in the New Year.

Joel Morris, director of comms, Coca-Cola GB, said: ‘After four years, the time is right to review our agency support. Portland has done some excellent work for us since being appointed, but their new ownership means that they are unable to repitch.’

Omnicom bought a majority stake, thought to be around 80 per cent, in Portland in April.

Martin Sheehan, a partner at Portland, said that the agency had ‘hugely enjoyed our fruitful co-operation with Coca-Cola’ and that it would ‘ensure that we are providing the best possible service while the new arrangements are put in place’.

Recent Portland work on behalf of Coca-Cola included the firm’s involvement with the Department for Health’s Responsibility Deal public health drive.

PRWeek understands that other agencies working with Coca-Cola GB are unaffected by the review.

These include The Red Consultancy, Lexis, M&C Saatchi for GB consumer and brand comms, along with Blue Rubicon’s project work, which encompassed the brand’s London 2012 Olympic sponsorship.

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