By Arun Sudhaman
DUBAI: PepsiCo is to embark on a major drive to advance its sustainability credentials, after completing an international review to identify its new corporate agency of record.
The food and beverage giant has called in Ketchum Raad, the Middle Eastern JV between Omnicom agencies Ketchum and TBWA/Raad/PR, to handle the lucrative assignment, which will span Asia, the Middle East and Africa (AMEA).
PepsiCo’s decision comes after the Holmes Report exclusively revealed the review earlier this year. Ketchum Raad secured the business after pipping Edelman and Weber Shandwick in the final round of the pitch, which featured as many as 12 agencies since it began.
At the time, a source involved in the review estimated the account as being worth as much as US$1 million.
As PepsiCo’s first agency of record across the three regions, Ketchum Raad has been tasked with building awareness of the company’s ‘Performance with Purpose’ initiative.
“Our biggest communications challenge in Asia, Middle East and Africa to is educate people that we have a broad portfolio of enjoyable and wholesome foods and beverages and we are committed to our community,” said PepsiCo AMEA comms director Huw Gilbert, who oversaw the process.
In particular, Gilbert pointed out that “most people” remain unaware of PepsiCo’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact, and its efforts to invest in local communities.
Gilbert noted that the new account would not conflict with existing agency relationships. PepsiCo currently works with a range of agencies, including Burson-Marsteller, Weber Shandwick and Edelman on both corporate PR and product initiatives related to such brands as Quaker Oats, Tropicana, Gatorade and Pepsi-Cola.
Communications activity will include media relations, digital and internal comms, as well as public affairs. Gilbert added that the initial area of focus would be “focused around PepsiCo’s AMEA HQ in Dubai, with opportunities to expand to other markets.”
“Overall, the key takeaway from the review process has been the rising quality of PR agency talent and capabilities in the Middle East and throughout the countries of Asia and Africa,” said Gilbert.