Two very interesting things happened this week in the world of advertising agencies that might cause a marketer to take pause.

These things might cause a marketer to ask whether or not the direction they are moving in with their agency really makes good sense.

The first has to do with our friends at Pepsi.  The second is in the next post.

This was pulled directly from a Bloomberg article titled “What Went Wrong with Pepsi“:

“Keeping everything under the company’s roof may have meant the ad was looked at with less skepticism and fewer points of view.”

“That’s the challenge of an in-house creative group, they tend to over-drink the Kool-Aid and they lose that sense of objectivity.” 

“They’re looking at the world through Pepsi-colored lenses.”

I think in-house marketing agency services can be of real benefit to a company.  You can get some things done more efficiently, but bringing it all in-house can present problems.

In a recent webinar I gave on the topic of Marketing Agency Survival I talked about the challenges of bringing agency work in-house.  One issue relates to talent.

Agency folks like agencies.

Convincing enough talented agency people that they should dedicate their life to making Pepsi ads or AARP ads is a tall order.

I see it all the time – in agencies that are heavily weighted in one sector.

The principal of the agency will want business in other categories because their “creative folks are tired of making hospital ads (pick your category) all the time”.

If the agency team gets sick of working the same category in their own agency, how do you think the team will eventually feel about “another AARP” ad.  Sure Pepsi is cool…but at some point even Kendall Jenner is going to get boring.

Creative boredom

And the other is what Pepsi is dealing with – falling into the trap of being myopic in one’s view of what’s compelling and different.

At the end of the day, you’re there to please the company boss, so the motivation is slightly different than it is if you’re working at an agency.  So consequently your approach and thinking and perspective changes.

In-house support is great for some things, but you might want to take a big step back and think about what you’re really getting from that group of yours.  And ask yourself whether or not you’d benefit from some fresh perspective by finding a new agency.

Doesn’t have to be an all or nothing thing.  Bring that new agency in for one campaign or a specific project and see what you get.

You might be pleasantly surprised!


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.