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Pepsi, BermanBraun in online marketing deal

July 19, 2007|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

PepsiCo Inc. has struck a deal with BermanBraun, a television production company started this year by two television heavyweights, to create online entertainment to help market Pepsi's beverages, the companies said Wednesday.

The deal is unusual because Pepsi will have the option of taking an ownership stake in material that BermanBraun creates for the Internet.

Pepsi is the first major ad sponsor recruited by BermanBraun, a Santa Monica-based production firm launched this year by former TV network executives Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun.

The pair hope to build a boutique studio that produces shows for TV and the Internet and eventually feature films.

The Pepsi content, Braun said, could find a home on such ad-supported sites as Yahoo, Facebook or MySpace.

The material his firm produces is not intended to have the look or feel of a traditional ad.

"We're looking to create programming here, not advertising," said Russell Weiner, a marketing vice president at Pepsi. "This is creating one-of-a-kind content that is inspired by our brands and incorporates them as part of the DNA of the programming rather than another logo slapped on a website."

The goal is to be different, said Braun, who developed online shows as head of Yahoo Inc.'s media group until he left the Internet portal in December.

"We are going to take a lot of chances," he said.

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meg.james@latimes.com

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