PepsiCo taps Edelman to lead multimillion-dollar campaign

NEW YORK: PepsiCo has selected Edelman to lead its multimillion-dollar corporate reputation campaign following a competitive bid with many of the company's existing agencies.

NEW YORK: PepsiCo has selected Edelman to lead its multimillion-dollar corporate reputation campaign following a competitive bid with many of the company's existing agencies.

P.J. Sinopoli, VP strategic communications for PepsiCo., said the first phase of the effort will primarily focus on research and developing messages. While the majority of the account's resources are planned for Edelman; Luntz, Maslansky Strategic Research will also be involved with message management, she noted. It will work with Edelman's research arm, StrategyOne, on this aspect.

“We want to raise awareness among PepsiCo stakeholders about the totality of the PepsiCo brand,” Sinopoli said. She added that showcasing the company's healthier snacking options and its CSR work will also be components of the multi-year campaign.

Neal Flieger, chair of Edelman's StrategyOne, will helm the business from the agency's Washington, DC, office. This team will be supported by Edelman's New York and Chicago offices, in addition to its offices in the eight regions worldwide that PepsiCo has determined to be “priority” markets, Sinopoli explained. She declined to name these markets, citing competitive reasons.

The win continues Edelman's ongoing relationship with PepsiCo. The agency has previously worked with PepsiCo on internal communications and some regional work, Sinopoli said.

Flieger said the team will initially use research to figure out what the PepsiCo brand means to audiences now and how this should evolve.

“Our approach with PepsiCo is going to be a thoughtful and incremental process of learning internally and learning externally,” Flieger said. “Then we'll build a program on this that will help their stakeholders understand what the PepsiCo brand means.”


Because this campaign is new, none of the seven pitching agencies were considered incumbents, even though many work with PepsiCo in other capacities. In the last round of the review, Edelman faced off with finalist Hill & Knowlton. Sinopoli praised H&K efforts, adding that it will continue to work on other aspects of PepsiCo's business.

Luntz, Maslansky pitched the business with the Reputation Institute, but latter was not selected, according to Michael Maslansky, CEO. He noted this is the firm's first time working with PepsiCo. He expects most of his agency's work on message development to be conducted early in the campaign. It will then focus on ongoing issues and also work in an advisory role.

“[Luntz, Maslansky] are on board to make sure our messages are resonated with our audiences the way we intend for them to,” Sinopoli noted.

Maslansky added that his agency will work with PepsiCo and Edelman to test a series of messages and communication approaches against target audiences and markets worldwide to ensure the messages are “credible and engaging.” The team will test the immediate emotional resonance of PepsiCo's messages against about 30-person groups that reflect the company's target market.

The new brief is not expected to impact PepsiCo's existing relationships with Abernathy MacGregor, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, or Fleishman-Hillard.

Updated July 8, 3:10pm

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