Are You Down With This Concept Yet? Media Is A Marketing Service.

Every company is a media company. No, that meme is incomplete and out of date. This is longer but more accurate: Every company needs media, a.k.a. brand storytelling to create and sustain long-term interest among key constituents.

Whichever angle you prefer, the need for media, a.k.a. content marketing, is a given. The question is “How the hell do we do this?”

For PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew brand, the answer is we outsource content production to a media company.

MTNDEW_Green Label

According to Stuart Elliott of The Times, Complex Media — publisher of, Do Androids Dance, Four Pins, Nice Kicks and Sneaker Report — can now add, to its list of titles and Mountain Dew to its list of clients.

Score another one for the media companies. This is work that could be done by an agency — an agency with journalists on staff. But no.

Elliott helps puts the project into historical (and modern day) context: will be billed by Complex Media as “presented by Mountain Dew,” echoing an earlier era of content marketing in which radio and television shows were “brought to you by” sponsors’ brands. Other Web sites in the same vein carry similar designations; for instance, The Adrenalist has articles about adventure sports that are sponsored by the Degree Men antiperspirants sold by Unilever.

I wonder, will Mountain Dew’s compete with the best media in existence? The new online magazine covers action sports, style, art and music. That’s a crowded field and it won’t be easy to gain traction. Regardless, my contention is a brand like Mountain Dew can compete, because it has the money to compete. Of course, money alone won’t get the job done. The brand team also needs vision, taste and patience to get it right.

I might add that American Express gets it right with their two newsstand titles, Food & Wine and Travel & Leisure. Red Bull gets it right with RedBulletin.

There’s a lot of room for growth and for greatness here.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.