The Coca-Cola Company is the world's biggest drinks company, controlling more than half the global market in carbonated soft drinks as well as a substantial chunk of the somewhat larger non-carbonated segment. It owns four of the world's five best-selling soft drinks. Its principal product is of course Coca-Cola itself, the world's best-known and most valuable non-technology brand, available in a multitude of different variants and flavours. But the company also sells around 400 other beverage brands ranging from sister sparkling sodas Fanta and Sprite to a vast range of other carbonated and non-carbonated juice-based drinks, bottled waters, iced teas and coffees, and even now a few alcoholic beverages. Increasingly, though, Coca-Cola has found that its sheer size works against it. Competition authorities now watch the company's every move, effectively ruling out the acquisition of anything other than marginal products; and market saturation, economic downturns in both emerging and mature markets and health concerns caused sales growth to stall for more than a decade. Since 2006, though, the company's performance has begun to fizz once again, mainly through aggressive development of non-cola products, especially bottled water. Odd though it may seem, the Coca-Cola Company doesn't generally manufacture the still or sparkling drinks consumed by millions of consumers worldwide. Its primary role has always been to make concentrates and syrups known as beverage "base". This is sold on to separate bottling companies who make the finished product by diluting it locally with water, carbonating, bottling or canning it and sending it to market. Many of the biggest bottlers also manufacture and distribute their own and other companies' non-competitive brands alongside those belonging to The Coca-Cola Company. For a brief period in the late 2000s, Coca-Cola reversed this strategy by buying up its US bottling partners, before refranchising them once again in 2016. However, it retains minority shareholdings in most of its biggest global bottling partners. With restaurant chains too - where Coca-Cola has a huge global advantage over rival PepsiCo - the company supplies only base to its customers who mix it themselves with water in fountain serving systems. James Quincey is CEO of Coca-Cola Company. Revenues for 2020 were $33.0bn with net income of $7.8bn. More than a third of revenues were generated in North America, more than in the next two regions - EMEA and Asia Pacific - combined. Total system volumes were 29.0bn unit cases (down from over 30bn the year before). Sparkling drinks accounted for 20.0bn cases, and the Coca-Cola family alone for 13.6bn cases (more or less unchanged on the year before). The US remains the group's biggest market by system volumes, followed by Mexico, China, Brazil and Japan.
Capsule checked 27th October 2021
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Adbrands Daily Update 8th Nov 2021: WPP triumphed in Coca-Cola's mammoth global marketing review, though other agencies will also pick up some duties. Details of how the process will work are not yet entirely clear, but WPP was named as Coke's "global marketing network partner". Under the banner of bespoke unit OpenX it will "manage end-to-end creative, media, data and marketing technology, across the whole portfolio" and across 200 countries. Grey will be the cornerstone agency within OpenX and Mediacom is understood to be the lead media network, but it will work in Japan and Korea with Dentsu as Coke's "complementary media partner". In addition, selected other agencies from the Publicis and Interpublic rosters will become part of a strategic creative roster working within an open-source model. "We know brilliant creative ideas come from anywhere," said CMO Manolo Arroyo, "and we will retain that flexibility." Leo Burnett, McCann and its Argentinean agency Mercado were all name-checked in Coke's announcement as contributors to the creative roster. "Consumers respond to an entire experience," said Arroyo, "they don't separate the message from the medium – and that's why we've designed an agency model to be truly consumer-centric and silo-free. This model is about seamless integration of the power of big, bold ideas and creativity within experiences, amplified by media and data. It will enable us to create end-to-end experiences that are grounded in data-rich insights and optimised real-time, at scale, as we learn from consumers."
Marketer Moves 9th April 2021: New top marketer at Coca-Cola France. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 10th Dec 2020: Coca-Cola unveiled a mammoth account review that is almost certainly one of the biggest and most complex anywhere in several years. It has put its entire global creative and media business into review, with combined billings of around $2.5bn. It's not just the size of the spend, but the extent of the coverage. The soft drinks giant's entire portfolio of over 400 brands is up for grabs. In an internal memo shared to selected media outlets, global CMO Manuel Arroyo told staff "We believe we can unlock considerable value through a redesign of our model and consolidation of third-party agencies, and while this effort is expected to generate cost savings, this is not the sole objective of this exercise." Currently, the company works with a vast roster of around 4,000 separate agencies around the globe. The marketing groups most directly affected are WPP, Interpublic and Publicis, who handle portions of both creative and media. Wieden & Kennedy and MDC's Anomaly are major creative suppliers while Dentsu's Carat has media duties in several markets, notably Europe. Omnicom and Havas are the only major groups with little or no exposure to this review. Arroyo promises "a complete redesign of our media and creative agency models in an effort to align the strategic, operational, and commercial needs of our new, networked organization."
Adbrands Daily Update 19th Oct 2020: Coca-Cola has continued to add brands to the list of products it will discontinue by the end of this year or early next. It has already announced the scrapping of Odwalla and Delaware Punch as well as variants including Coca-Cola Life and Sprite Lymonade. Latest addition to the Kill List is Sixties icon TAB, first introduced in 1963, and the product which laid the foundations for Diet Coke and others. Bizarrely, TAB has been produced ever since, despite the wider availability of other no-cal drinks. It continues to have friends in high places, not least Ajit Pai, chairman of the US communications regulator the FCC. "We've withstood so many of the difficulties and disruptions that 2020 has thrown our way," he tweeted this morning, "but this is a really big blow."
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jul 2020: Reporting lacklustre results for 2Q, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey said the group will begin eliminating what he called "zombie brands" around the globe in order to "ruthlessly prioritise" its lead products and new "rising stars". Coca-Cola manages a vast portfolio of around 400 separate drinks brands, many of them with their own collection of flavour variants and different serving sizes. However, more than half of these are single-country products which contribute a combined total of just 2% of revenues. "We are shifting to prioritising fewer but bigger and stronger brands across various consumer needs," said Quincey. "At the same time, we need to do a better job nurturing and growing smaller, more enduring propositions." The first brand to go is US juice and smoothie range Odwalla, production of which will cease this week. Coca-Cola's revenues slumped by 28% in 2Q. Hardest hit were non-core brands: tea and coffee drinks suffered a 31% volume decline, with water & sports drinks down 24% and juice, dairy and plant-based beverages down 20%. Coke itself saw a 7% volume decline. About half of the group's business comes from away-from-home venues such as restaurants, bars and entertainment venues, most of which were in lockdown for most of the quarter.
Adbrands Daily Update 16th Dec 2019: Coca-Cola has reinstated the role of group chief marketing officer, two years after it phased out that position. Manolo Arroyo, currently regional president Asia Pacific, will take up the title at the beginning of next month, overseeing a new divisional structure that will include separate teams for creative, category, marketing operations, design and knowledge & insights. Arroyo will also retain responsibility for the APAC region. The change will accompany the retirement of former CMO Francisco Crespo, who shifted to a new role as chief growth officer in 2017. That position will not now be filled.
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