CHICAGO: WPP's Burson-Marsteller has walked away from a $2 million account with Gatorade amid speculation that the agency would have been booted in the near future as Gatorade parent PepsiCo consolidates its marketing spend with Omnicom-owned agencies.Fleishman-Hillard has picked up the Gatorade business after competing for it with Ketchum and Porter Novelli, two other Omnicom agencies. Fleishman is hiring the five-person Burson Gatorade team, led by Jim Motzer.
Over the past year, PepsiCo has been consolidating its marketing efforts under Omnicom. Last year it made the unusual announcement that it appointed Omnicom, rather than one of its component ad agencies.
Meanwhile, Burson is banking on Coca-Cola wanting similar streamlining in its agency arrangements, and has decided to focus on increasing its business with the soft-drink giant. Chet Burchett, president/CEO of Burson US, said the agency decided to resign the Gatorade account to "pursue a global relationship with Coke."
Burson picked up a new assignment that will involve work in the US and abroad on corporate issues and projects, said Sonya Soutus, director of corporate communications at Coke.
Coke has had a long-term relationship with Burson, but this assignment "is a new phase involving corporate PR and marketing communications," said Soutus.