Coca-Cola hands corporate and public affairs brief to Open Road

Coca-Cola has handed its lucrative corporate and public affairs work to Open Road after splitting with Portland.

New agency: Coca-Cola split with Portland over conflict issues
New agency: Coca-Cola split with Portland over conflict issues

The agency won a pitch shoot-out for the UK-wide work after the FMCG company parted ways with Portland over conflict issues relating to historic rival PepsiCo.

Open Road’s retained brief comes at a time of high activity for Coca-Cola, with a UK relaunch and renewed involvement in Formula 1.

PRWeek revealed  that Coke was to split with Portland after four years due to the agency’s sale of a majority stake to Omnicom, which works with PepsiCo on a global level.

Open Road, whose clients also include Asda and Vodafone, confirmed the appointment. The agency will report to Joel Morris, Coca-Cola’s director, public affairs and comms, Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland.

Morris told PRWeek in October: ‘Portland has done some excellent work for us since being appointed, but their new ownership means that they are unable to repitch.’

Open Road will now slot into a comms set-up that includes The Red Consultancy, Lexis and M&C Saatchi.

The UK arm of the world’s biggest soft drinks manufacturer recently relaunched its Glacéau vitaminwater brand.

The company is also reportedly readying a return to Formula 1 next year through its global energy brand Burn, in a sponsorship deal with the Lotus F1 Team.

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