$34 Million Assignment Was at Element 79

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NEW YORK ( -- Pepsi-Cola North America has selected Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, to handle its $34 million account for bottled water brand Aquafina.

BBDO's Los Angeles and San Francisco offices

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launched the water brand in 1998. Most recently, the Aquafina account had been at Omnicom sibling Element 79 & Partners, Chicago, for little more than a year. The agency won the account in a review that included the incumbent and another Omnicom unit, DDB Worldwide, New York.

$264 million portfolio
BBDO handles the $264 million carbonated soft-drink beverage portfolio, which includes Pepsi-Cola, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Code Red and Vanilla Pepsi, among others, for Pepsi, the country's No. 2 soft-drink company.

BBDO referred calls to Pepsi, which confirmed BBDO had been selected to handle the account.

Aquafina, the country's leading bottled water brand, received $33.9 million in measured media last year, and $2.7 million coming in the first quarter of this year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. The "Aquafina. Purity Guaranteed" campaign has been running since April.

Element 79 still handles PepsiCo's Gatorade, while WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, New York, handles the Pepsi-Lipton Tea Partnership.

Agency history
Aquafina's agency history attests to the difficulty of marketing water. Since being awarded to BBDO in 1997 -- the year before it launched -- the Aquafina account went to JWT in December 1999; Interpublic Group of Cos.' Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, Chicago, in April 2001; and then Element 79 in March 2002.

Pepsi-Cola North America is a division of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo.

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