New global plans for Pepsi pose challenge for jousting Omnicom duo TBWA and BBDO

PepsiCo, these days a global food and beverage company, has finally woken up to the fact that its flagship brand Pepsi, is withering on the vine.

So it’s dispensed with the services of top US marketer Jill Beraud and imposed a new marketing structure with Brad Jakeman first among equals in a new global marketing group. This is, says the company, “global management” as opposed to “global coordination.”

Therefore all it needs then is a crackerjack global ad campaign like the ones currently being pursued by by Heineken (through Wieden+Kennedy), Levi’s (also through W+K) and even arch rival Coca-Cola (mostly through, er, W+K).

Well clearly, in the absence of W+K, it needs to find another agency but, rather than going to one and inviting it to produce the global campaign it’s planning to run in early 2012, it has set up a steering committee from its two biggest agencies, the Omnicom-owned duo of TBWA (which handles Pepsi in the US) and BBDO which handles it in the rest of the world.

This rather smells of sticky, caramel-flavoured fudge.

But they’re both owned by Omnicom, you might say, so what’s the problem? All they need is a bit of team spirit, working for the greater good of their owner. Sorry, the client.

But, as Omnicom chief rival WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell could tell you, getting these bloody agencies to work together is a nightmare (not that it stops him trying to do it).

And relations between TBWA and BBDO can’t be very good at the moment as BBDO recently won $1.6bn Mars from TBWA, a grievous blow to the latter even though the business stays within Omnicom and many TBWA staff have presumably been re-deployed (another thing they hate).

Will Pepsi get the crackerjack campaign it so obviously needs? Or just more guff featuring amiable brand ambassador David Beckham and lots of production values, like the silly BBDO campaign featuring him and his football chums from back in 2004.

What the company clearly needs is a global CMO (for beverages anyway) which it hasn’t got and the aforementioned winning global campaign.

Without the first it probably won’t get the second.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.