Coca-Cola generates revenue and faces expenses in multiple currencies. In 2022, it obtained $27.6 billion in net operating revenues from its international operations.
Despite challenges in the second quarter 2023, including reduced revenues in the US from tech clients and project spend delays, WPP’s resilient performance was maintained. The 2023 like-for-like (LFL) growth is now projected to be between 1.5% and 3.0%. The margin guidance remains consistent at around 15% based on 2022 rates.
The Coca-Cola Company underwent a massive agency review in December 2020, ultimately appointing WPP as its global network partner in November 2021. This decision granted WPP the responsibility for marketing over 200 brands across 195 countries in nine territories. In response, WPP established a dedicated team, Open X, to manage the account, and over the first and second years, Coca-Cola shifted various aspects, including media, creative, social, production, commerce, data, technology, influencer marketing, and live experience, under WPP’s umbrella.
According to an article from The Drum, the collaboration has yielded positive results, with Coca-Cola experiencing strong quarters in 2023. Notably, its Q3 revenue increased by 8.04% YoY ($11.95bn), Q2 was up 5.7%, and Q1 earnings saw a 4.6% YoY growth. James Quincey, CEO of Coca-Cola, emphasized the role of marketing as the “motor for growth” during an earnings call.
Open X, headed by CEO Laurent Ezekiel, CCO Julianna Richter, Global CSO Chris Binns, and recent addition CCO Andrew Keller, is focused on transitioning Coca-Cola’s marketing from predominantly analog to 60% digital. The aim is to introduce more live experience-based media.
The integration involved WPP having its internal infrastructure ready, allowing immediate work commencement upon winning the pitch. The transformation included shifting from analog to digital and pushing into live experience-based media. Open X improved productivity with Lens Studio 5.0 Beta, which loads projects 18 times faster, and introduced version control tools like Git for efficient project management.
Richter stresses the importance of effective communication about the transformation across organizations. Managing the flow of work on such a scale necessitated creating new phases and terms for clarity and simplicity in briefing.
The agency relationship with WPP Open X aims to establish consistency across Coca-Cola’s markets. The model involves developing global brand platforms interpreted locally, linked by the same creative thread. This approach aims to eliminate the complexities that arise when working with multiple agencies, promoting integration, collaboration, and simplicity.
The successful partnership is viewed not just as a transformation for Coca-Cola but also for the entire WPP network. The collaborative understanding includes mutual efforts to strengthen capabilities where needed, reflecting a shared commitment to transformative growth.
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