Boston Consulting Group has hired former PepsiCo executive Brad Jakeman as it moves to bolster outreach to chief marketing officers that are taking on broader roles inside large corporations.
Jakeman, who comes aboard as a senior advisor, left PepsiCo in late 2017 after seven years to start his own consultancy. He had served as president of the company’s Global Beverage Group, giving him purview over strategy, brand building, design, advertising, marketing and innovation for brands including Pepsi, Mtn Dew and Gatorade across more than 150 countries. Previously he held marketing roles at Activision Blizzard and Macy’s.
Jakeman, who is well-connected with some of the industry’s most influential CMOs, will be charged with tapping into those networks to get Boston Consulting Group more embedded with key decision makers. Jakeman will “strengthen our efforts toward building an actively-engaged CMO community, and …further build out our external marketing strategies and approaches,” Boston Consulting Group Managing Director and Senior Partner Mark Abraham stated in an internal memo announcing the hire. He called Jakeman a “global operating executive with a marketer’s heart.”
CMOs have emerged as a key target for management consultancies in recent years as their roles have expanded to cover a lot more than traditional advertising. “Marketing is moving from this megaphone-to-everyone approach to a more targeted and personalized approach,” Jakeman said in an interview today. As a result, the “role of the CMO has never been more complex than it is right now. The CMO today is expected to be part chief innovator, part chief storyteller, part growth officer, part data specialist, part consumer advocate, part technocrat.”
But with that complexity comes more opportunities for management consultancies, which are increasingly competing with agencies. Firms like Accenture and Deloitte have sought new ins to the C-Suite by building out their creative service offerings—often via acquisitions—that are sometimes used as an entry to bigger projects.
Boston Consulting Group is part of the elite trio of management consultancies—along with McKinsey & Co. and Bain & Co.—that are considered the most-prestigious players in the consulting world. The three firms have deep strategic consulting practices that cover a range of business areas including marketing.
The three firms, collectively known as “MBB,” in some ways operate on a different plane from fast-growing major consultancies in the marketing space that have or had historic ties to accounting firms: Accenture Interactive (part of Accenture’s Accenture Digital); Deloitte Digital (part of Deloitte’s Deloitte Consulting); and PwC Digital Services (part of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ PwC Advisory).
Jakeman will join BCG’s Marketing, Sales, and Pricing (MSP) practice, whose offerings include consultation on data-driven marketing, personalization and customer experience, technology stacks, and organizational change, according to its website.
“I wouldn’t say BCG is taking on agencies,” Jakeman says. “I imagine we will be working alongside a lot of agencies but will be doing things that are very different.” But that could include helping marketers bolster their-in house marketing teams, which by itself could prove to be a long-term threat to agencies, which have been contending with the so-called in-housing trend in recent years.
At PepsiCo, Jakeman led the creation of the marketer’s in-house content creation arm, called Creators League Studio, which sought to leverage the power of PepsiCo’s brands with branded and unbranded content, including scripted series, films and music recordings. It had many hits, including backing the 2018 film “Uncle Drew,” which was based on a character played by National Basketball Association star Kyrie Irving who began appearing for Pepsi as “Uncle Drew” in a 2012 campaign that went viral.
But Creators League was also behind Pepsi’s widely mocked Kendall Jenner ad from 2017. In a candid conversation about the experience, Jakeman in an interview during an Ad Age event that year called the backlash “the most gut-wrenching experience of my career.”
As he joins Boston Consulting Group, Jakeman will continue serving as founder and managing partner of Rethink Food, described in his new employer’s internal announcement as “a social impact venture fund with the mission of providing accessibility to more nutritious food and beverages to more people by investing in innovative business models in agriculture, technology, processing and consumer packaged goods.”
Contributing: Bradley Johnson