PepsiCo’s Brad Jakeman urges the recognition of outdated agency models – and women

At last.

A prominent marketer and keynote speaker, Brad Jakeman of PepsiCo, has come down on the advertising industry for outdated agency models and measurements; lack of diversity; and an outdated perception of digital marketing. And it all went down at the Association of National Advertising’s annual “Masters of Marketing” conference in Orlando, Florida, according to a new Ad Age article.

In a hard-hitting speech entitled, “Designing for Disruption”, the president of PepsiCo’s global beverage group cited that one of the biggest factors contributing to insufficient innovation in today’s agency models was a lack of diversity: “I am sick and tired of sitting in agency meetings with a whole bunch of white straight males talking to me about how we are going to sell our brands that are bought 85 percent by women,” he said. “Innovation and disruption does not come from homogeneous groups of people.”

We couldn’t agree more with Jakeman on this point, being one of the major reasons Venus opened its doors over ten years ago: Marketers are still failing to acknowledge that women make the majority of purchase decisions per household, and thus ignore this invaluable audience. And the general deficit of female creative directors worldwide certainly isn’t helping the cause.

With this in mind, the PepsiCo executive urged marketing organisations to change with the times, including an update of the current measurement system. He claimed agencies are still referring to “share of voice” (a television metric), with some measuring marketing spend as a percentage of net revenue: “That assumes that paid media is the only way to build brands,” Jakeman said, adding that content produced by individuals on a brand’s behalf, for example, costs advertisers nothing.

Ah yes, the digital realm: We were glad to see even Jakeman recognised the crucial importance of digital communication and social communities (e.g. word-of-mouth branding), to the point of imploring marketers to create digital cultures – not just digital departments. This is especially important when marketing to that instrumental-yet-neglected audience, women: From social media to blogging to Internet shopping – online is exactly where she spends a vast amount of time, connecting. And much more so, than men. Brands need to be there.

Finally, the PepsiCo executive addressed the lack of true “disruptive” changes or inventiveness, in commercial brands. He cited Caitlyn Jenner as an inspiration for advertisers: How she transitioned both “literally and figuratively as a brand” worldwide, in a thought-provoking, authentic and profound manner.

Once again, reaching that all-important, female audience is about being genuine and transparent. Regardless of gender, if that’s the refreshing direction Jakeman believes advertising should be going, we’re already on-board.

Do you agree with Jakeman’s implications? We’d love to hear your thoughts.