Coca-Cola’s decision to move its $45m (28.1m) Fruitopia account out of Omnicom’s Chiat/Day network worldwide will come as a blow to the UK agency’s efforts to sell itself as a standalone agency within the group.
Coca-Cola is handing the business to roster agency Leo Burnett without a pitch.
As predicted in Marketing Week (April 14) Chiat/Day will split with Coca-Cola to avoid client conflicts when it is acquired by the Omnicom-owned agency TBWA in September.
Omnicom also owns BBDO Worldwide and DDB Needham, which handle food and drinks accounts for rival Pepsi-Cola.
The UK arm of Chiat/Day fought the TBWA merger and describes itself as a standalone agency in the Omnicom network.
The agency had expected to pitch for the Fruitopia account separately if its US parent was dropped, but was not invited.
The UK operation will now lose its estimated 3m share of the global account with Coca-Cola in the US, although its push for the 3.7m launch project of Fruitopia, under contract with Coca-Cola in the UK, will continue.
Chiat/Day’s UK managing director Andy Law says: “It is sad not to have a relationship with Coca-Cola, but we worked on a project, rather than ongoing, basis.”
According to Coca-Cola, the move was voluntary. “We did not perceive a conflict, but Omnicom was uncomfortable so we decided to move,” says a spokesman.
Chiat/Day will also resign the Cherry Coke account.