The Pepsi Challenge

BBDO’s greatest strength—and its biggest challenge—is its strong-willed, turf-focused talent around the world. Flagship client Pepsi turned out to be the key to ushering in a new era of cooperation among the network’s creative egos.

When Pepsi split its communications into North American and international operations in 1997, BBDO’s New York office had to share one of its sexiest pieces of business with CLM BBDO, Paris. Each year since then, select BBDO international offices have submitted ideas, executed against CLM’s brief, that are put before BBDO’s Pepsi review committee, composed of CLM BBDO chief Chris tophe Lambert, BBDO Worldwide CEO Allen Rosenshine and the North American team of chairman Phil Dusenberry, president/CEO Andrew Robertson and chief creative officer Ted Sann.

Some 60-70 scripts are winnowed to about 10. Those concepts are shown to Pepsi marketing executives around the world. Ultimately, four or five go into production.

“BBDO’s network—with guidance from Allen Rosenshine and Phil Dusenberry—has developed a strong pool of ads that have consistently built share, raised key brand consumer- performance indicators and beaten key country norm for best in class,” says Antonio Lucio, svp of marketing for PepsiCo Beverages International. “BBDO creates ads that not only win awards—back-to-back gold Lions for soft-drink advertising—but also consumers’ hearts.”

To be sure, competitive obstacles still exist among BBDO’s offices, but the experience with Pepsi has helped loosen the barriers. Says Lambert, “This new way of working with Pepsi has helped strengthen the network in the way it’s helped BBDO find a way to collaborate for international clients.”