Cola wars: PepsiCo ends 30-year partnership with WPP, as Coca-Cola signs up the agency

Cola wars: PepsiCo ends 30-year partnership with WPP, as Coca-Cola signs up the agency

PepsiCo has called for fresh pitches for its media and creative accounts in India.


Mumbai: The biggest rivalry in advertising history is in full view once again as the two beverage giants PepsiCo and The Coca-Cola Company engage in an indirect battle over their common global partner. PepsiCo India has brought its over three decades of association with WPP to a grinding halt after the latter inked a comprehensive deal with Coca-Cola. The beverage major is set to call India’s leading agencies for media and creative pitches. And the reason behind it is anybody’s guess.

“PepsiCo India follows a re-pitching cycle every few years for agencies and partners working on our brand mandates. This year Wunderman Thompson and Mindshare will not be participating in the process,” stated a PepsiCo India Spokesperson to IndianTelevision, while adding, “We value our partnership and thank them for what we have achieved together over the years.”

WPP Group-owned Mindshare and Wunderman Thompson were the company’s media and creative agency on record, respectively.

Last year in November, Coca-Cola named WPP as its global marketing network partner. As a part of this alliance, WPP will play a major role in Coca-Cola, executing a new marketing model that is built to drive long-term growth for the entire company’s portfolio of brands across more than 200 countries and territories.

The news of this association evidently has not gone down well with Pepsico, as WPP was handling the latter’s business in markets like India. India is among the few countries where WPP Group agencies represent PepsiCo. Rumours have been strife since then that PepsiCo might change its agency soon as no brand wants to work with agencies with contending brands.

As the two largest soft-drink brands, Coca-Cola and Pepsi have long been arc rivals. Pepsico and Coca-Cola are two major advertisers in the country and the beverage makers have jostled for consumer attention with pointed ads featuring major Bollywood stars as brand ambassadors over the last decade.

 According to reports, PepsiCo has been devoting between $2.3 and $ three billion to advertising and promotion of its products annually. Over the last six years, Coca-Cola has spent an average of $ four billion a year on advertising worldwide.