Coke and WS split in milk campaign spat

ATLANTA: The Coca-Cola Company and Weber Shandwick have agreed to end a 15-year relationship, due to what both parties are calling a client conflict.

The conflict arose last month when WS helped execute a campaign, called Think About Your Drink, for The Milk Processors Education Program (MilkPEP).

Coke told PRWeek in a statement: ‘WS conducted work on a programme for another client that was a direct, inappropriate and misguided attack on our industry.'

It added: ‘While unfortunate, this should not overshadow the productive, long-standing relationship we had with the agency. We appreciate the outstanding work WS has done for us.'

Coke and WS have worked together on a project basis for a decade and a half. The agency has worked with MilkPEP for 12 years.

In an 8 January press release announcing the campaign and outlining the findings of a study called What America Drinks, MilkPEP stated: ‘This analysis revealed that beverages supplied nearly a quarter of our total calories - with nutrient-poor, sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks and pre-sweetened teas, as the largest contributor.'

It went on to say: ‘Experts say that nutrient-poor, sweetened beverages are a problem because they can push nutrient-rich beverages out of the diet - including low-fat and fat-free milk.'

WS president Andy Polansky said: ‘We continue to have enormous respect and admiration for The Coca-Cola Company.'

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