How PepsiCo keeps up with the cultural zeitgeist

Sarah Shearman

Gathering real-time insights and tapping into zeitgeist moments matters "immensely" to PepsiCo, according to Shiv Singh, global head of digital for the company's beverages division. But while speaking during a panel discussion held by TBWA\Chiat\Day in New York, he also warned that this approach must be part of a consolidated strategy, not just a loose series of one-off executions.

"We pay a lot of attention to real time, and a lot of ideas go from strategy to execution in a matter of seconds," he said. "But I would say that if you miss out on a Super Bowl 'lights-off' moment, people are still going to buy our beverages," Singh continued, referring to Oreo's near-instantaneous - and much discussed - response to the blackout during the NFL championship game in February 2013. "So, yes, that is something which matters immensely, but to try and jump on for the sake of jumping on is not necessary," he added.