The Coca-Cola Company announced today that it will team with the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. to further develop, refine and focus "the brand essence" of Coca-Cola across the full range of consumer communications.

"Interpublic will act as creative consultant and idea generator at the global level, enabling our marketers around the world to take the core messages about brand Coca-Cola and ensure their relevance to consumers at the local level" said Stephen C. Jones, chief marketing officer, The Coca-Cola Company.

"This is about telling the 'Coca-Cola story' and ensuring that the basic messages about the world's premier brand have a foundation of consistency" Jones said. "That consistency and the local interpretation of those stories will guarantee the continued powerful relevance of the Coke brand to consumers in the more than 200 countries, and among the 125 languages in which we communicate."

"Interpublic people from across our worldwide system of marketing and related services companies will be part of our Coca-Cola team" said John Dooner, president and chief executive officer, Interpublic. "Our team's mission is to reassert the essence of brand Coca-Cola and determine how it can be best communicated across the full spectrum of media, including: on-line, experiential, in-store, and traditional advertising. It is a privilege to be Coca-Cola's partner in this effort."

Coca-Cola and Interpublic will form a Marketing Communications Advisory Council that will establish the consistent standards and messages for the world's leading brand. The local Coca-Cola marketing management will make all decisions on marketplace execution of those brand messages.

"Our local marketers will be able to focus their energies on leveraging their insights into the local consumer to create relevant energy around the brand" Jones said. "This approach will fully leverage our 'think local, act local' strategy against the world's most ubiquitous brand."

The companies expect to initiate this effort early in 2001.

The Coca-Cola Company is the world's largest beverage company and the leading producer and marketer of soft drinks. Along with Coca-Cola, the world's best-known brand, the Company markets four of the world's top five soft drink brands, including diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite. Each day consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy more than a billion servings of its soft drinks.

The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. is one of the world's largest advertising and marketing services management companies. It includes the parent company, The Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc., the McCann-Erickson WorldGroup, The Lowe Group, DraftWorldwide, Initiative Media Worldwide, Octagon sports marketing, the Allied Communications Group and 11 independent domestic advertising agencies.