PepsiCo seeks to stop executives <BR>at FCB advising on Coke brand

NEW YORK - PepsiCo is taking legal action in its fight to stop executives at former agency Foote, Cone & Belding Chicago from working on an account for rival Coca-Cola.

The advertising agency previously handled Pepsi's Aquafina bottled-water brand, and account handlers who worked on Aquafina now face a temporary restraining order preventing them from having contact with Coca-Cola employees who work on Dasani. Pepsi argues that the agency has been entrusted with trade secrets.

The case is set to be heard in Cook County Court, Illinois this Friday. PepsiCo hopes to prevent FCB employees who worked on Aquafina from advising on the Dasani brand for at least two years.

The legal move is a result of Interpublic Group of Companies' acquisition of True North, as both groups owned agencies handling Coke and Pepsi work.

The acquistion saw a recent shake-up of brands among Interpublic agencies. FCB lost $350m (£241m) in Pepsi business, including the Quaker Oats brand, but was then awarded some Coca-Cola business, including the contentious Dasani brand along with Minute Maid juices. The Coke work for Interpublic is estimated to be valued at around $93m (£64m).

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