SBJ/November 10 - 16, 2003/Forty Under 40
Published November 10, 2003
John Galloway brings the kind of loyalty to Pepsi and the kind of focus on moving cases of soft drink that you'd expect from the son of an army general, whose two grandfathers were generals as well. He can't have a discussion about his job — from the philosophy to the nitty-gritty — without returning to the mantra of moving cases.
And it's clear that the people who man a soft-drink company — like distributors, sales reps and drivers — function like an army to him, each one integral to meeting the objective. Conversations always touch on the importance of the foot soldiers.
When he describes a defining moment in his seven-year career at Pepsi, where he now is the director of sports marketing, it fits this picture as well. It has to do with loyalty to a cause, down to the smallest detail.
"I go back to a woman named Pat Eichten when I did marketing for Miller at the agency Wunderman Cato Johnson, and we were in a very nice yacht near Newport [R.I.] on a friendly business outing," he said. "We stopped at an island, and the people we were with picked up some Coors Light, and my friend Pat was extremely upset about it. It taught me the brand loyalty idea and how important it is to be loyal to a fault, with no tolerance for slippage. In the Pepsi-Coke competitive environment, you have to be passionate."
Galloway has a reputation in the business for this passion, but also for good humor. At a sponsorship conference in September, the host announced that "John Galloway is almost here. He's caught in a rainstorm on Fifth Avenue," and the crowd chuckled appreciatively. Galloway held up his end, swooping in five minutes later and bounding to the podium sans suit coat, shirt drenched and making wisecracks as he settled into his chair.
"He's always been very approachable, and he seems to have truly taken a lot of time in creating partnerships with properties where you both feel like you're getting a win," said Sean Belgrade, managing director of consumer marketing for International Speedway Corp., whose 13 tracks all have relationships with Pepsi — a telling fact considering Coke is NASCAR's official soft drink.
Galloway was a Forty Under 40 winner last year, and he has delivered a strong year before picking up another award. "From our largest to our smallest property, they've all delivered against the expectation and in most cases have exceeded it," he said. Pepsi has 50 national promotions around the NFL alone this fall.
When asked about his concerns regarding the sports world, Galloway sticks to selling soda.
"The challenge in the sports world is having constant measures of return on investment. There's not a consistent measure on programs — signage, media, impressions — that would allow us to measure ourselves against other companies, a global ROI model across all sports properties."
Galloway oversees eight employees, none older than 36, who help run Pepsi's efforts in their assigned sports. He said he's learned to be more hands-off in the past year, partly from wisdom and partly from a hectic travel schedule that makes it necessary. No one told Galloway to change. "It was more of an internal awareness, that my people have been on the job a little longer and I saw them growing within them."
As for his own career, Galloway again sounds like the son of lifetime military people. Pepsi has a "rotation policy" that shuttles people to new jobs regularly — Galloway has already been a brand manager for Mountain Dew and a flavors director for Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
"I very well could be managing the Pepsi trademark or our food-service department, but I'm a Pepsi guy for life and I look forward to different experiences that round out my career at Pepsi."