PEPSI TO BE SOFT DRINKS' BIG BLUE

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Pepsi-Cola's next generation of packaging has started popping up overseas, foreshadowing a major global push for the Pepsi-Cola Co. flagship.

Pepsi appeared on London shelves in a new deep-blue can that looks more like its sister brand Pepsi Max than the current red, white and blue Pepsi can. Plans call for the new look to be phased in throughout Europe and then the rest of the world-and probably even the U.S.

Although executives said plans call for a global rollout, none was sure when the new design would make it to the U.S.

This plan comes as Coca-Cola Co. revealed it will soon test a contour can in a few U.S. markets. The marketer cautioned that it doesn't know yet if aluminum-preferred because it's easily recyclable-can hold up to the stress of packing, stacking and shipping in the contour design.

A steel contour can already has been tested in Europe.

YEARS IN THE MAKING

The new Pepsi can has been years in the making, said one executive involved in the project. Landor Associates, San Francisco, a design and identity agency owned by Young & Rubicam, helped develop it.

In Europe and other parts of the world, Pepsi-Cola has been successful in attracting teens to Pepsi Max, a diet cola; the soda uses an artificial sweetener that's not yet approved for use in the U.S. Making the new Pepsi can look like Pepsi Max acknowledges and attempts to build on that success, one executive said.

STAR-STUDDED CAMPAIGN

BBDO Worldwide, New York, is producing a bold, celebrity-studded ad campaign to support the new blue can, executives familiar with the effort said. Industry insiders pegged the cost to produce the campaign at more than $3 million.

A Pepsi spokesman wouldn't reveal the creative but said an energetic, humorous spot starring tennis player Andre Agassi that recently debuted on behalf of Pepsi Max "set the tone" for the company's European advertising in the months to come.

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