Initiative Scores Again, Wins Cadbury Schweppes

Just two weeks after landing the prized Hyundai/Kia automotive account, Interpublic's Initiative North America unit has won the coveted Cadbury Schweppes account. The estimated $150 million account had been handled by WPP's Mediaedge:cia.

The win is part of an impressive turnaround for the Interpublic shop, whose fortunes have been on the rise ever since former MediaVest executive Richard Beaven took the helm as CEO and attracted an A-Team of top executives who have been on a new-business tear.

The growth has come not just from new business, but from strong organic growth from clients such as Bayer, Big Lots, Coors and KAL Brands, which Beaven said has been an equally "important part of our success."

Despite the sudden back-to-back new business windfall, Beaven said Initiative is well-poised for staffing and recruiting the new accounts, as a result of forward planning during the pitches.

"We had a pretty good opportunity during the course of this process to plan that in the event that both of these things work out, how would we do it? With the car business, we have a very specific team that we're building out for that, and we're drawing from a pretty big pool there," he explained.



"On this, it's a smaller team than the car one, but we've had a chance to figure out who we would have on the team and who we would recruit. Our commitment is to do the set up of these things to keep the existing teams on the great range of clients we have," Beaven added.

Beaven said the account would be serviced out of Initiative's red-hot Los Angeles office, which is headed by West Coast President Alan Cohen, known for developing innovative strategies that stretch the boundaries of media.

However, it wasn't clear from the announcement whether the business would be defined strictly as a media account. Among the finalists pitching the business were full-service Interpublic shops the Martin Agency and Mullen.

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