We figured we’d kick things off by addressing tips we received on the Spy late in the day yesterday regarding the relationship between Coca-Cola North America and Hearst-owned digital agency, iCrossing. From what sources in the know tell us, due to “a shrinking budget,” it was a mutual decision for Coke to “streamline a small piece” of its North American paid search business with Starcom MediaVest Group. While SMG hasn’t responded to our inquiries as of yet, it appears that iCrossing, which actually expanded its search relationship with Coke NA nearly two years ago, is still very much in the mix.
According to sources, iCrossing is still managing the soft drink giant’s biggest North American paid search effort, My Coke Rewards, and remains Coke’s global search AOR. In addition, we’ve been told that Coke has tapped iCrossing to manage its supplementary search campaign to support its Sochi Olympics sponsorship.
Update: Well, the Coca-Cola camp has chimed in and wants to clarify its relationship with SMG. A spokesperson, who tells us the “shrinking budget” issue is actually not an issue, says, “Coca-Cola is extending our relationship with SMG to drive greater innovation, efficiencies and effectiveness across platforms. By integrating search into our overall connections plans, this further enables our Company to take a major step forward in building best-in-class connections plans scaling across owned, earned, shared and paid media channels.”