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PepsiCo: ‘In-housing can increase engagement with agencies’

PepsiCo’s marketing director for Europe, Nancy Croix, recently addressed the growing trend of in-housing creative teams by brands. Despite the increasing appetite for in-housing, Croix believes there’s still plenty of work for creative agencies. She launched an in-house creative team called Sips and Bites in 2020, which collaborates closely with external agencies across PepsiCo’s many brands.

The approach involves a blended mix of in-house and external talent, where agencies are responsible for brand positioning, and the in-house team manages social aspects. Croix emphasizes that the goal is not to grow the in-house side of the business but to find the best solutions for brand challenges, which often involves a combination of in-house and external expertise.

To foster collaboration and avoid adversarial relationships, Croix removed the pitching process from the creative workflow. She recognizes that agencies offer creative freedom and opportunities to work with diverse clients, which may attract ambitious talents. However, this model is suitable for PepsiCo due to its budget and scale, while smaller companies like Three faced challenges in restructuring their in-house creative.

Matthew O’Brien, creative director at Three, was initially tasked with cost-saving measures, reducing the number of agencies they worked with. Over time, Three’s in-house team focused on different areas, allowing them to collaborate more closely with agencies on significant campaigns.

Ultimately, the success of in-housing depends on alignment between in-house teams and marketers, as conflict between marketing teams can be a hurdle to overcome. Despite the trend towards in-housing, creative agencies continue to play an important role in the industry.

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