Omnicom Shops Vie for Sierra Mist

Goodby Is Lead Agency for Pepsi's Lemon-Lime Soda Brand

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- PepsiCo is conducting an agency review for its Sierra Mist brand, and a handful of Omnicom Group shops are vying for the lemon-lime soda account, executives close to the matter say.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners added Sierra Mist to its roster in 2009. Goody's roster also includes PepsiCo's Propel Fitness Water, Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Rold Gold and Tostitos brands.

TBWA/Chiat/Day's New York office is understood to be among the contenders, as is DDB, Chicago. The former already does work for the Pepsi brand, while the latter doesn't currently have a spot on the U.S. PepsiCo roster. However, its digital agency, Tribal DDB, works on the Amp energy drink brand, and Spike DDB handles African-American advertising for PepsiCo beverages. DDB also handles some creative for PepsiCo's brands in China.

PepsiCo said Goodby continues to work on creative for Sierra Mist but declined to comment further. Agencies either could not be reached for comment or referred calls to the marketer.

Shuffling account work among Omnicom agencies is nothing new for Pepsi. In October 2008, for example, the marketer handed Goodby its $120 million Quaker portfolio after pulling it from sibling Element 79, Chicago. And sibling BBDO previously handled Sierra Mist.

In September, PepsiCo eliminated Sierra Mist in favor of Sierra Mist Natural, which is sweetened with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup. The move established Sierra Mist as the first mainstream soda to permanently eliminate HFCS. Execs are hoping that move will make the brand more competitive with lemon-lime rival Sprite. Goodby created the campaign for Sierra Mist Natural, which included 15- and 30-second spots, as well as digital, radio, print and out-of-home. The shop also created new graphics for the brand. (Diet Sierra Mist still exists and is sweetened with a blend of Aspartame and Ace-K.)

Spending for Sierra Mist -- and the lemon-lime category as a whole -- is on the rise. After PepsiCo had slashed its measured media spending nearly 40% in 2009, down to $9.4 million, according to Kantar media, spending for January through October 2010 is up to $11.1 million.

Volume for Sierra Mist fell 10% in the first nine months of 2010, according to Beverage Digest. But there are indications that volume figures began to improve in the fourth quarter, following the launch of Sierra Mist Natural, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest.

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Contributing: Rupal Parekh

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