Coca-Cola’s first worldwide director of advertising, David Wheldon, is leaving to take charge of Coke’s marketing in Europe.
His new title is director of marketing greater Europe, though he will continue to be based in Atlanta. Wheldon replaces Pat Garner in this role. Garner, meanwhile, is taking up a senior role with Coke in the Philippines.
Wheldon will be replaced as vice-president and director of advertising by the former vice-president of Coca-Cola China, Ian Rowden.
Wheldon, a Briton, joined Coke from Lowe Howard-Spink in London, where he was managing director, in 1993 and presided over the dram atic changes to Coke’s advertising.
Over the past three years, working in conjunction with Coke’s worldwide head of marketing Sergio Zyman, Wheldon wrenched Coke’s advertising account out of McCann-Erickson, which had long been its agency of record worldwide. Wheldon and Zyman split the account mainly along individual brand lines, building up a roster of over 30 agencies, some producing commercials for the same brand.
Coke can claim the strategy has succeeded since its sales worldwide have significantly outstripped its main rival Pepsi.
Pepsi’s $500m (325m) Project Blue repackaging initiative, aimed at “capturing” the colour blue in the cola market, can be seen in part as a tribute to Coke’s superiority.