Coke Names UK Agency Exec To Lead Global Marketing

Jonathan Mildenhall, the strategy director at Coca-Cola's London-based agency Mother, was tapped to become vice president of global marketing, with responsibility for exploiting the "Coke Side of Life" campaign around the world.

Mildenhall's appointment was reported early yesterday in the British advertising press. He will relocate to Atlanta.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola reported a year-to-date revenue jump Thursday, propelled partly by a 10% increase in worldwide marketing spending, company officials said.

"We believe we're getting traction out of the spend," said Chairman-CEO Neville Isdell on a conference call with analysts. Isdell has made increasing ad dollars a priority in his tenure.

Isdell reportedly has boosted Coke's marketing investment by $400 million a year, meaning it will come close to $3 billion this year.

So far, however, the global revenue increase has trailed the rate of increase in marketing dollars. Net operating revenues for the first nine months of 2006 jumped 3% to $18.16 billion. In the most recent third quarter, net operating revenues increased 7% to $6.45 billion.



Still, Isdell added, "effective marketing programs ... are increasingly connecting with our consumers." Particularly helpful this year, he noted, were marketing initiatives tied to the World Cup this summer outside the U.S., highlighted by soccer hotbeds Europe and Latin America. Isdell said World Cup programs were rolled out in more than 100 markets.

However, one troubled business segment Coke cited Thursday was in ready-to-drink tea and coffee beverages, which he deemed unsatisfactory. "There's clearly more that we can do," he said.

"Coke's real problem is a long-term decline in carbonated soft drinks and more effective ads will only take it so far," said Gerry Khermouch, editor of Beverage Business Insights, West Nyack, N.Y. "The change does nothing to juice innovation, which still consists largely of tepid line extensions and me-too new brands (like Gold Peak tea). The real hot seat at Coke is Mary Minnick's innovation post, and it remains to be seen whether she will be able to bring some agility to the new-product machine."

The company is testing barista-style coffee drinks in Toronto, and in November will launch Enviga, a sparkling green tea beverage that actually burns calories, in a joint venture with Nestle.

Next story loading loading..