- PepsiCo is taking its social media marketing in-house according to Adweek.
- The move comes a month after it put its digital agency, The Barbarian Group, under review.
- The beverage company used the review process to shake up its agency roster in a traditional way, but along with moving social media in-house it is now also allowing third parties to bid on other digital marketing activities.
Managing a brand's relationships on social is a nuanced undertaking that can require more direct brand involvement. Pepsi's move highlights some of the unique challenges of social media, which provides brands with an opportunity to connect on a more personal level with customers than traditional media. At the same time, it opens the door to negative comments reaching a broad audience if not handled correctly.
By choosing to shake up its digital marketing, especially exemplified by moving its social media outreach in-house, Pespi is also providing another illustration of how the traditional agency/brand relationship has shifted as marketing has become more data-driven and digital. Overall the traditional big players in the agency space have been slow to react to the realities of digital marketing and changing needs of marketers at big brands that once spent large marketing budgets with those agencies.
The Barbarian Group looks to be the big loser in the changes as digital initiatives go to other third parties, with a major loss being Pepsi’s Super Bowl social media campaigns being handled internally.
The agency model “is not going to bend, it’s going go break. Agencies will continue to see more and more projects leaving them … They will get a smaller and smaller share of the pie,” Pepsi marketing executive Brad Jakeman speculated at an ANA event last year.
Adweek reported that both Pepsi and The Barbarian Group didn’t comment on the shift in digital strategy.