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SBD Global/June 11, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pepsi, Wasserman Media Group Work On Global Sports Framework

Pepsi and Wasserman Media Group have created a sports system that assesses sports properties in any market.
Every multinational corporation is challenged to maintain uniformity across the globe, and so seeking to bridge the gap between sports' varying appeal in various markets, Pepsi and Wasserman Media Group have designed and implemented a framework for sports across the world. The result, according to those inside in the $60B beverage and snack food marketer, is an internet-based sports system that provides a uniform way of assessing sports properties in any market. The centralized framework is not designed to control sports from Pepsi's headquarters, but rather to provide knowledge and tools to various markets. "We don't want to be the ones negotiating sports deals in every market," said PepsiCo Senior VP/Sports Marketing Jennifer Storms, who started working on the system with WMG around a year ago, and since March has been rolling out the program across the nearly 200 markets in which Pepsi operates. "We're supplying knowledge and tools to allow for local success."

HOW IT WORKS: Pepsi's new sports toolkit asks questions of local company executives and then makes local market recommendations. It asks marketers whether their brands are "known, liked or loved" locally, and suggests ways to move them from "known" to "liked" or "loved." It also recommends appropriate rights fees and activation asset levels. Early on, there are a few success stories. Storms said that when the framework was applied to a soccer sponsorship in the Middle East, "it completely changed the valuation of the property and the assets we were seeking to support it." Answers provided to a common question about whether it is more efficient to buy a league rights deal or a network of team deals resulted in the Pepsi marketing group in Russia paying half of what it had budgeted for those rights. Hossam Dabbous, marketing director for Pepsi's snack-food business in the Middle East and Northern Africa, said the process has added discipline to sponsorship marketing. "This has given us a structure to work from and helped us select sponsorships and activation more scientifically," Dabbous said. "We can make better, more efficient sports sponsorship decisions at the right prices." Since various markets are now sharing information via Pepsi's online sports marketing toolkit, that's also helped disparate markets share best practices, like the unique way Pepsi marketers in India combined soccer and cricket in a campaign. The promise of a back end system that can provide ROI measures will be the final part of the project. "The challenge was to apply a consistent global sports framework to drive growth," Wasserman Media Group Consulting co-President Elizabeth Lindsey said. "This is something that focuses on what a sponsorship is really delivering all over the world, which is no easy thing to accomplish."
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