By Steve McClellan

Coca-Cola Co. has selected UM, part of IPG Mediabrands, as its lead media agency for North America, the companies confirmed Friday.

The company spent $400 million on ads in the U.S. last year according to Kantar Media.

The long-time incumbent on the business was Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest, which participated in the review along with WPP’s MediaCom and Dentsu’s Carat. While the loss of the North American business is a blow, MediaVest, as well as MediaCom and Carat, remain on Coca-Cola’s global media agency roster. And MediaVest will also continue to work on a few of Coca-Cola North America’s emerging brands on a project-by-project basis.

MediaVest had been the incumbent for more than a decade. The client had not conducted a formal review of its U.S. media planning and buying during that time.

Confirming the shift, a Coca-Cola spokeswoman said, “At the end of a rigorous ten-week process, Coca-Cola North America has decided to invite UM to be our lead agency for all of our media planning, buying and media analytics. They will also be the primary partner for devising the most innovative and business driving connections strategies.”

The spokeswoman also said the company is adopting “a hybrid approach” where certain ads may be placed by other agencies.  “Under certain conditions, we will be considering a roster of agencies to lead connections strategies on a project-by-project basis, supported by UM.” Such agencies might be creative shops who develop ads or campaigns for the company and devise the activation approach as well.

“With this model we believe we’re best positioned with the talent, the tools, the technologies and the thinking to suit our strongest and innovative ambitions,” the Coca-Cola spokeswoman said.

The Coke review is one of numerous media reviews kicked off by major marketers this year, such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and L’Oreal.

Estimates are that media assignments accounting for some $25 billion in ad spending are now in review.