PepsiCo's in-house content studio head on preserving brand trust as demand soars

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A new article on Marketing Dive reports that saying no to projects isn't out of the question as Louis Arbetter tries to maintain quality while building out new capabilities in areas like social listening.

Despite prior speculation that the pandemic could throw cold water on the agency in-housing trend, major marketers like PepsiCo have continued to ramp up their activities in the space. If anything, the food and beverage giant has had to adopt a more measured approach to projects to avoid getting swamped. "When we scale, we're careful to bring folks on in a way that's going to set them up for success," said Louis Arbetter, vice president of content and production at PepsiCo Beverages North America and the head of the division's in-house Content Studio. "We're growing tremendously, but you don't want to grow too quickly."

Louis Arbetter has spearheaded branded content efforts like "Uncle Drew." Recent initiatives from the group include a Showtime documentary produced with Boardwalk Pictures and directed by Nadia Hallgren that took viewers behind-the-scenes of the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show featuring The Weeknd. Arbetter previously helped spearhead the viral digital content series "Uncle Drew" that depicts NBA star Kyrie Irving as an old man whose skills on the court shock unwitting street players. The concept was spun into a feature film -- the first to be based on a branded content series -- in 2018, where Arbetter served as executive producer.

In this article, Marketing Dive spoke with Arbetter about the challenges and opportunities of the pandemic's streaming and social video boom, how PepsiCo learns from external agency partners and in-housing's role in the metaverse. You can read the full interview by clicking on the link above.
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