Diet Coke hands Dawson Pickering European ad brief as it leaves BETC London

Words by Seb Joseph and Stephen Lepitak

Coca-Cola is understood to have handed a European advertising brief for Diet Coke to Dawson Pickering having moved the account out of BETC London.

The Drum has learned that Dawson Pickering, co-founded by Neil Dawson, former executive creative director of BETC London will take on some work for the brand and that its former agency will no longer handle the account.

The agency has been working on the brand in a limited capacity since it launched last year when one of its first pieces of work was to bring the Diet Coke hunk back for its 30th anniversary.

BETC London was responsible for the 'Regret Nothing' campaign which was released in January but that is understood to be its final work for the account it won in August 2012.

A spokesperson for Coca-Cola told The Drum: "We work with a number of different agencies and choose the right partner according to the brief. Both BETC London and Dawson Pickering are on our books."

Andrew Stirk, chief executive of BETC London, told The Drum: "BETC London is proud of all the work we have done with the team over at Coca-Cola. The new Regret Nothing strategy was an exciting step, reconnecting with the brand’s conception as the original impulsive soft drink. We wish the team and the brand the very best for the future, and are excited about the upcoming opportunities for BETC London."

Dawson Pickering declined to comment.

The move of the account is another blow to the agency which just last week saw Bacardi hand BBDO Worldwide the international advertising account, which it won two years ago.

The changes at the summit of Diet Coke’s pan-European ad roster come as the brand undergoes major changes over the coming months as part a wider move to unite Coca-Cola’s four distinct drinks in the region under one strategy.

However, unlike Coke Zero and Coke Life, Diet Coke has a more defined personality that the company wants to carefully manage as it moves under the umbrella strategy. So much so in fact that the design and brand changes to Diet Coke are being staggered with regular customer research panels planned to gauge the right timings for updates.

The agency change is the first to impact one of Coke’s big brands in Europe since Marcos de Quinto became chief marketing officer last October. He has already sought to put his mark on its marketing as evidenced by his decision to sound out agencies for the company's next big global marketing strategy.

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