Pepsi and BBDO New York Rekindle Relationship 7 Years After Their Big Breakup

Marshawn Lynch plays reluctant spokesman in new ad

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Seven years after a painful breakup, Pepsi and longtime agency BBDO New York have rekindled their relationship.

For nearly 50 years, the two had maintained one of advertising's most high-profile partnerships, with BBDO creating iconic Pepsi ads starring the likes of Michael Jackson, Michael J. Fox and Cindy Crawford.

The agency and brand parted ways in 2008, when Pepsi moved its business to another Omnicom shop, TBWA\Chiat\Day. But now BBDO has created a new Pepsi ad starring notoriously press-shy Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

Turns out that Skittles isn't the only sugary treat that Lynch enjoys when he's not on the field. Here's the ad, which debuted over the weekend with little fanfare and plays on Lynch's tendency to refuse to speak in public.

Regarding its relationship with BBDO New York, a Pepsi spokesperson told Adweek: "Pepsi is happy to be working with BBDO [New York] again, and we continue to work with a range of creative agencies. Our other relationships remain unchanged."

This is hardly an unprecedented move. In 2013, Omnicom created a super-agency of sorts called Galaxy by combining the talents of TBWA, 180LA and BBDO to handle Pepsi work around the world. At the time, the client told various publications that it would move away from the creative-agency-of-record model in favor of turning to different shops for project-based work.

The soft drink giant would appear to be following that pattern by returning to BBDO New York this year. The agency's Manhattan office has long played lead on PepsiCo's Mountain Dew, but other agencies have worked on the larger Pepsi campaigns for several years, with Mekanism creating 2015's alien abduction-themed Super Bowl spot.

While Pepsi is "unable to confirm anything at this time" regarding future campaigns, sources suggest that BBDO New York will produce more work for the brand in coming months.

Here are a few of BBDO's most famous Pepsi and Diet Pepsi spots from the 1980s and '90s:


@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.