NEW DELHI — MSL India has been forced to step down from its lucrative Coca-Cola assignments, following parent company Publicis Groupe's alignment with PepsiCo, PRovoke Media can reveal.

Coca-Cola has responded by shifting the two accounts — for the company's brand and its bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages — to Weber Shandwick. PRovoke Media understands that the two assignments are worth approximately US$350K combined, making it one of India's most coveted PR mandates. 

The decision comes after WPP consolidated Coca-Cola's global marketing duties at the end of 2021. Since then, Publicis has been securing PepsiCo's advertising assignments in numerous markets around the world, including India, China and Southeast Asia.

However, as is often the case with major accounts, Publicis Groupe's PepsiCo alignment means that its agencies can no longer represent Coca-Cola. MSL has worked for Coca-Cola in India since 2015. The brand work has already moved to Weber Shandwick, with the bottling assignment expected to shift at the end of June.

As part of WPP's partnership with Coca-Cola, which is carried out under the OpenX bespoke unit, Ogilvy PR handles most of the beverage giant's PR work, alongside H+K Strategies and BCW.  In India, however, Coca-Cola has opted for Weber Shandwick, from rival group Interpublic. 

Spokespersons for both MSL and Weber Shandwick declined to comment, while a Coca-Cola representative had not responded to request for comment as this story went live.

PepsiCo, meanwhile, moved its corporate communications mandate to Avian WE last year, after previously working with WPP firm BCW, prior to the latter's Coca-Cola consolidation. Edelman handles brand PR duties for PepsiCo in India and many other global markets.