THREE OMNICOM SHOPS EYE DIET PEPSI CREATIVE DUTIES

Longtime Incumbent BBDO Squares Off Against TBWA, DDB

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- PepsiCo is giving ad agencies within Omnicom Group a shot at its $31 million creative assignment for Diet Pepsi, the marketer said.

The New York office of BBDO Worldwide has handled the brand exclusively for years and now will compete with Omnicom siblings TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., and DDB Worldwide, New York, for creative duties.

A Pepsi spokesman rebuffed speculation that the move was related to BBDO's recent changes within its creative suite. BBDO in June shocked its clients and the industry when it ousted longtime Chief Creative Officer Ted Sann, replacing him with David Lubars, then president and executive creative director at Fallon, Minn.

"We want to get the best creative ideas we can," the spokesman said. He also denied any links to another Omnicom agency review, for PepsiCo's Tropicana brand.

Executives close to the marketer said Pepsi is planning a major push for its diet flagship in 2005. "Diets are a huge and growing segment," the Pepsi spokesman said. "It's the only piece of [the carbonated soft drink] business that is growing."

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