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BBDO to Intro Diet Pepsi Max

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NEW YORK BBDO has returned to the Diet Pepsi roster by landing creative duties for the launch of Diet Pepsi Max.

A Pepsi representative confirmed BBDO would help introduce the brand and said the work was awarded without a review.

The Omnicom Group shop's relationship with PepsiCo dates back to 1964, when it became lead agency on the flagship Pepsi brand. BBDO also handles Mountain Dew, Sierra Mist and Aquafina.

"We don't see this as a Diet Pepsi line extension, but a whole new brand for a different type of consumer with a different need," said Pepsi representative Dave DeCecco.

BBDO in New York lost the Diet Pepsi account in December 2004 to sibling DDB here.

Sources said at the time that the move was a punitive measure by Pepsi executives, who were displeased by the dismissal of the agency's long-time chief creative officer Ted Sann.

Pepsi has long denied such assertions, and DDB continues to handle that brand.

A BBDO representative declined immediate comment.

Media spending on the new product was not available, and DeCecco declined comment on proposed spending. The company's U.S. media spend behind Diet Pepsi has fluctuated over the past three years. It was $35 million in 2004, $95 million in 2005 and $65 million last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Diet Pepsi Max is a zero-calorie beverage that contains more caffeine than Diet Pepsi and some ginseng. The product is scheduled to hit U.S. store shelves in June and its consumer target is adults in their mid-20s to mid-30s. In all, there are 13 versions in the Pepsi brand portfolio, including flavored, diet and caffeine-free varieties.