$35 Mil. Aquafina Tests Creative Waters

CHICAGO Pepsi is set to hear pitches from BBDO and DDB, as well as from incumbent Element 79 Partners, for the creative portion of its estimated $35 million Aquafina water account, sources said.

All three agencies are units of Omnicom Group.

Pepsi initiated the competition based on its desire to place a more cohesive strategy behind the bottled water brand, sources said. Pitches from BBDO and DDB, both in New York, and Element 79 in Chicago are expected to be held in July, sources said.

Element 79 broke new work during April’s Academy Awards telecast tagged “Aquafina. Purity Guaranteed.” The shop is also set to break a TV spot supporting the brand’s “Pure Luck” national promotion in July, said Pepsi representative Bart Casabona.

Casabona did not confirm that Pepsi is prepating to hear creative pitches, although he said the company has not ruled out such a scenario. “We really haven’t decided anything on that yet,” he said. “We’re continuing to work with [Element 79] at the moment.”

Executives at Element 79 and the other shops either could not be reached or declined comment.

Element 79 was formed last year to handle Gatorade and other Pepsi brands following the company’s acquistion of Quaker Oats. The agency handles a number of Pepsi products, including Gatorade’s line of Propel fitness waters.

Pepsi spent approximately $30 million on ads for Aquafina Purified water last year and an additional $5 million on the Aquafina Essentials line of flavored and vitamin enhanced waters, according to TNS Media Intellgence/CMR.