Pepsi is about to step into the ring with the current unchallengeable world champion of branded content creation, Red Bull. The rivals to Coca Cola have decided that if they want to engage with audiences, they need to create content that is engaging… nothing new there. The difference is that with big budgets and a high profile brand, the content that they produce can be amazing and they can start to infiltrate many areas of their target audience’s lives without resorting to a carpet-bombing advertising approach.

We recently worked with Red Bull on the Wings for Life World Run project that they set up, managed and supported. It was a fantastic opportunity to watch the masters of content creation at work from the inside. Red Bull have created content that is essential viewing for a vast audience and the key thing is that those people – those potential customers – don’t care that it is Red Bull behind the project. And Pepsi have learned this vastly valuable lesson.

The Pepsi approach will be to give creative people the opportunity to do what they want to do without some of the constraints that they usually face. The project is called The Creators League and you can read more about it here.

The thing that we like is that the big brands are finally seeing that it is going to take more than just advertising to win the hearts and minds of their consumers. In fact we are not in a world where the size of your advertising spend is less and less a factor in how big and loyal your customer base is. As the elegantly named Frank Cooper III, chief marketing officer of global consumer engagement, says:

I try to think about what we do from the audience’s perspective, for the most part they don’t really care that it’s delivered by a brand. It must be entertainment first.

And we agree. Cooper goes on to point out that now the big players are learning from the more creative, agile and resourceful companies:

When you start to see really small companies put out content and generate large audiences with relativity small amounts of money, it changes the way you think.

We agree. Anyone can make excellent, moving, amusing and engaging content and if you are brave enough to make the content for content’s sake then the audience will work out who is behind it and thank you for it. That is surely, the best sort of engagement?


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