PepsiCo selects Weber for Mountain Dew brand

PURCHASE, NY: PepsiCo has hired Weber Shandwick as the PR agency for its Mountain Dew brand after an RFP. Ruder Finn previously managed the account.

PURCHASE, NY: PepsiCo has hired Weber Shandwick as the PR agency for its Mountain Dew brand after an RFP. Ruder Finn previously managed the account.

The company chose Weber because of its experience working on various PepsiCo projects and brands, said Andrea Foote, senior director of communications at PepsiCo Beverages Americas.

“[Weber has] other business at Pepsi, and we've worked with them on other brands,” she said. “We were really pleased with the thinking that they brought to the table, so we're excited to start working with them.”

John McInerney, SVP and director of consumer marketing communications at Ruder Finn, Mountain Dew's PR agency since the end of 2010, deferred to Pepsi for comment. The brand previously worked with Porter Novelli. Foote declined to name the other agencies that participated in the RFP.

Weber will focus on traditional PR and consumer engagement for Mountain Dew, said Foote.

“For this brand, the work is on the brand-marketing side, so it's mostly consumer-facing,” she said.

PepsiCo said in February that it would begin to review agencies across its brands with the aim of narrowing its roster of firms. At the time, PepsiCo worked with Edelman, Ketchum, Fleishman-Hillard, Weber, and Ruder Finn. Analysts predicted this week that PepsiCo will disclose decreased first-quarter profits on Thursday when it reports its Q1 earnings.

Foote added that the brand has various events and initiatives planned for this year, such as the re-launch of the “Dew Tour” extreme sports series and PR elements for the “This is How We Dew” campaign.

A goal of “This is How We Dew,” which features rapper Lil Wayne and skateboarder Paul Rodriguez, is to help the brand catch on with urban audiences. Weber will work to amplify the effort to media outlets and consumers.

Last August, Weber worked with Pepsi to connect with fans at the BlogHer conference in San Diego. The agency also helped PepsiCo in July 2011 at South by Southwest (SXSW) by managing a digital campaign.

Gail Heimann, vice chair at Weber, called the Mountain Dew account “sort of the ultimate assignment” and explained that “the goal is really to help take the brand to the next level as a force in youth culture.”

Last week, PepsiCo appointed Brunswick Group managing partner Jim Wilkinson EVP of communications for the company, replacing Julie Hamp, who left her SVP of consumer relations and CCO role in March. EVP of global corporate affairs Tim Cost also left the company in January, while Bonin Bough, senior global director of digital and social media, departed to join Kraft Foods.

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