The Player: Moffitt looks for innovation on grassroots level at Sobe

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You have to think Scott Moffitt picked up something about marketing when his expatriate family was fleeing the Shah's Iran in the 1970s and had to sell their possessions to the locals. With so many unloading what they couldn't bring back on U.S. military transport, it was a buyer's market.

Now 38, as VP-marketing for PepsiCo's South Beach Beverage Co., Mr. Moffitt has an even tougher consumer-teens. But with a resume full of innovation and product rollouts and Sobe-like hobbies of BMX bike riding and snowboarding, Mr. Moffitt appears up for the challenge.

Mr. Moffitt went to Arizona State University, where he graduated in 1988 with a degree in finance. He went to work for a Minneapolis bank but found himself more taken with client General Mills' new products and marketing than in his own number-crunching. After three years, he headed to Northwestern University for his MBA in marketing and management strategy. His first summer, he was a PepsiCo intern. It was 1993, and he tested Caffeine-Free Mountain Dew in North Carolina.

"It was kind of like taking the stuffing out of a Twinkie and selling the brown stuff. I wondered how smart these Pepsi people were," but with aging Mountain Dew enthusiasts' sensitivity to the caffeine punch, it wasn't so misguided.

He returned to Pepsi after Northwestern and worked on Mug Root Beer. He was promoted to associate marketing manager on Mountain Dew, where he helped convert it from a hick brand to a teen phenomenon. From there, it was on to Chicago field marketing in the mid-'90s, expanding Aquafina water and testing Josta-a carbonated drink with guarana-via one of the company's first grassroots-marketing efforts.

back to dew

After brief forays with Pepsi's juices, juice drinks and lemon-limes, it was back to Dew, where the strategic, decisive Mr. Moffitt was a driving force in its first Super Bowl advertising via Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide in New York, ramped-up marketing aimed at blacks and new efforts targeting Latinos with Spanish-language ads rather than translations.

In 2000, Mr. Moffitt helped energize a pipeline pretty much empty at a time when new products were deemed the way to growth. Five new products were launched in 2001, including Code Red. By last year, 10 were in test or early launch, Diet Sierra Mist and Aquafina Essentials among them.

In January, he moved to Sobe, combining his Dew experience with innovation. Tom Bene, Sobe's chief operating officer and a Pepsi-Cola alum, said he wanted Mr. Moffitt to be his marketing guru because of his understanding of the consumer.

"Already he's made a significant impact, and in the not-too-distant future, his skills [innovation and otherwise] will become apparent to those in the outside world," Mr. Bene said.

"This is a business that can't have a year without news," said Mr. Moffitt. "I don't know that there is a place [Sobe] can't go."

Fast Facts

Name: Scott Moffitt

Age: 38

Now: VP-marketing for PepsiCo's South Beach Beverage Co.

Challenge: To unlock the next big idea while staying true to the Sobe brand and to find the right balance between grassroots and mass marketing.

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