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Lessons Every Brand Can Take Away from Pepsi’s “Live For Now”

April 12, 2017


For all the wrong reasons, Pepsi’s “Live For Now Moments Anthem” is, to date, the year’s top clutter-cutting video.  This is not a blog about its creative failures, a topic being thoroughly dissected in every corner of the marketing world.  What this blog is about are three valuable lessons this failure has to offer brand marketers of all sizes.

Takeaway: This flop is in no way an indication of the value or the capabilities of in house agencies.

I must admit, I’ve been taken aback by the intensity of the criticism in-house agencies have received as a result of this spot. At VLCreative, we regularly partner with in-house agencies to create video content, and in-house teams are some of the most talented, insightful partners we work with.  Just like agencies, marketing companies, and, well, everyone, they have their strengths and weakness.

We also work in partnership with agencies.  They have also been known to miss the mark on occasion.  Sure, this in-house agency missed one, but that doesn’t mean that all in-house agencies can’t play in the big leagues, it means they’re as human as we all are, constantly working to improve at the art and inexact science of marketing.  In-house agencies, traditional agencies, boutiques, and everyone in between have value to offer in the hyper–expanding world of online video content.  How they work and play together is key, which leads me to my next point

Takeaway:  It’s not an either/or proposition.

In house agencies that extend their perspectives with external resources position themselves to succeed.

Much of the criticism of in-house agencies around this spot attributes their lack of big-picture perspective as a main contributor to be concept’s failure.  True, in-house agencies don’t benefit from the perspective of working on multiple brands in multiple verticals, so there is some validity to this point, but there is also a flip side to the coin.  In-house agencies know their brands, their strengths, and the level of adventurousness they’re comfortable with better than anyone else.  It’s one of the main reasons in-house agencies are proliferating.

Video is a unique medium.  If it were easy, then every video would go viral, every series would be a hit, and every movie would be a blockbuster.  That’s why, according to the In-House Agency Forum’s most recent State of the Industry report, external resources are brought in to help with video content creation more often than for any other type of content.

External resources bring a valuable outside perspective to in-house brand capabilities.  The combination of the two, in our experience, creates an extremely powerful formula for success.

Takeaway:  More content equals less exposure.

The more video content you produce, the stronger an audience you’ll build, and the easier it will be to move on from videos that don’t hit the mark.  Of course, large brands such as Pepsi can absorb big-budget failures more easily than smaller brands, but that’s no reason to stay on the sidelines.  It is reason to be strategic, and to have a well-considered plan to drive video marketing.

It’s easy to focus on the highly visible failures, and for sure, as miscalculations go, this one is quite remarkable, but more often than not, well executed video with smart strategy and talented execution will deliver excellent value to your brand.

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