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PepsiCo unit 'no threat' to agencies

News, 17 May 2016
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NEW YORK: With the launch of its Creators League unit, PepsiCo has shifted a significant amount of content production in-house, but an executive has said that the move is not a threat to agencies.

The new unit, based in a production studio in Manhattan, will produce content for PepsiCo's own brand portfolio as well as offering its services to a wider creative community.

"It's not about a land grab," Brad Jakeman, president of PepsiCo's global beverage group and who oversees the content studio, reassured agencies. "It's about sticking to your knitting, doing what you know how to do the best, and being ego-less and willing to work well with others."

He told Advertising Age that, given the multiplying number of channels which brands are having to supply with content, "it just becomes more efficient at some level" to bring production in-house.

"Will [agencies] ever be able to produce $15,000 films in eight hours and do 400 of them [a year]? Who knows?" he said. "But that is not the problem I need them to solve right now."

What he wants them to focus on, he explained, is "upstream brand stewardship … We really value that part of the process".

One of PepsiCo's agencies, at least, appears unperturbed by the development. "I don't see it as a competitor of what we are doing," said Lauren Connolly, an executive creative director at BBDO New York.

"I don't think there is one way to do production," she added. "I think it is about expanding the tool kit and the creative minds as opposed to limiting it."

PepsiCo's aims for the Creators League are not limited to filming ads and branded content for snacks and soft drinks. "We are open to collaboration and creation in all forms with a variety of partners," said Kristin Patrick, SVP/global brand development.

"Our model is not exclusionary in any way. We are opening our doors to the best production companies, agencies, creatives, so together we can work on all forms of content."

Jakeman put it in rather more ambitious terms. "Our goal is to really behave like a Hollywood studio," he stated.

"For many, many years, we have been the people who have been renting the content from the networks and the studios. There's an opportunity for us to become more ingrained in that profit pool."

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff

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