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Pepsi stepping into digital world, selects new agency

Firstborn, an IT company has decided to make a digital creative business for Pepsi; after a detailed meeting that happened in September. Now, the spokesperson from PepsiCo has confirmed that such a collaboration took place. Pepsi will deal with social in-house through its new content studio established in Manhattan.

It all started when Firstborn took over Cheil Worldwide-owned incumbent The Barbarian Group, which is trying to rebuild after a wave of personnel departures.

Recent information follows a series of major changes at the barbarian group. After the departure of new CEO Peter Kim, who replaced Sophie Kelly when she left last December, Kim took over but also left the agency.

Soon after the departure of Kim, within six months several Barbarian groups joined and then left. Barbarian co-founder Rick Webb told Digiday in an August interview that the agency is “literally being run into the ground.”

Cheil Worldwide President of International and CEO of Greater China Aaron Lau is now serving as Barbarian Group’s interim CEO.

In June, Barbarian lost Brisk brand to VML. That occurred soon after the agency’s executive creative chief, Edu Pou, left the agency.

A 4,000-square-foot content creation studio of PepsiCo’s is formed in the heart of SoHo, London. It is supervised by Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo’s global Beverage group. The space includes a 2,300-square-foot, multiuse recording studio, five editing and production bays, and a theater-style screening room with 10 oversize leather chairs.

Mr. Jakeman foresees the space is not just for brand content, but for wider ventures that include brand- agnostic content through distribution of deals with film studios and online publishers. His agenda is to sell enough unbranded content to overcome the costs of creating ad content.

It is quite fascinating to see the Pepsi Brand is now making its space in digital arena with the collaboration of Firstborn, an IT company ranked in No. 8 on renowned website, Ad Age’s Agency A-list in 2010.

This initiative will challenge the other competitors as well and give a hard time to resist in international market. Let’s see what’s coming through this digital platform in the near future.