Cola giant gets first dibs on online programming

Lloyd Braun’s favorite cola is turning out to be Pepsi.

Pepsi-Cola North America has inked a first-look deal with BermanBraun, the production entity formed by Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun in January.

Under terms of the deal, Pepsi will get first dibs at producing and sponsoring original programming BermanBraun will develop for the Internet.

First projects aren’t expected for several months.

“We’re bringing Pepsi in at the very beginning of the process to create programming that really resonates with the 18-34-year-old audience,” Braun told Daily Variety.

Pepsi is essentially continuing its relationship with Braun, who worked closely with the soda company’s execs when he was head of media and entertainment at Yahoo. At the Web giant, Pepsi is the sole sponsor of the web series “The 9,” and backs the music-focused microsite “Pepsi Smash.”

Braun said that when it comes to the web, Pepsi really wants to figure out how to connect with consumers in a way that extends their brand beyond a simple banner ad.

“We’re going to pay as much attention to that as to the content itself,” he said.

BermanBraun, which itself has a first-look deal with NBC Universal Television, has yet to tap a topper for its online operations. It plans to build a digital content studio in Santa Monica at BermanBraun’s offices.

Online content created by BermanBraun would not be part of the NBC U TV deal.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Berman and Braun touted the “tremendous benefits from both a creative and marketing standpoint.”

Pepsi was attracted to Berman and Braun for “their proven track record in developing creative and entertaining content,” said Ralph Santana, veep of sports, media and entertainment marketing, Pepsi-Cola North America.

“Pepsi Entertainment was formed to provide innovative and compelling programming and we know this partnership will help us achieve this goal online.”

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