10 Steve Challouma
Marketing director, Birds Eye
A Birds Eye employee for 20 years before he got the top job last year, Challouma’s big project has been relaunching the frozen-food brand’s Captain mascot earlier this year. The subtly younger, more modern-looking character has won public approval, increased brand awareness and helped turn around a sales decline.
9 Benjamin Braun
Marketing and digital director, Audi
As a columnist for Campaign, Braun is a dab hand at using nicely drawn allegories to illustrate those principles that marketers often find too easy to forget. Though he’s a fan of econometrics as a tool for justifying marketing spend, the high standard of Audi’s work under Braun’s stewardship proves this doesn’t come at the expense of creativity.
8 Syl Saller
Chief marketing and innovation officer, Diageo
As president of The Marketing Society and arguably the most powerful marketer in the global alcoholic drinks industry, Saller is a major advocate of embracing failure as a tool for learning. In February she signed up Diageo to Free the Bid, which requires that agency and production partners include at least one female director on all bids.
7 Darren Bentley
Chief customer officer, Moneysupermarket Group
Bentley made perhaps the boldest decision in UK marketing this year by parting ways with his brand’s acclaimed agency, Mother, in favour of WCRS (rebranding in 2019 to Engine). Arguing that great ads were no longer enough in a category with little consumer engagement, Bentley said Moneysupermarket needed to prioritise its proposition to consumers instead.
6 Sara Bennison
Chief marketing officer, Nationwide
Having noted that many of the poets and performers featured in Nationwide’s now two-year-old "Voices" campaign had been subjected to abuse and trolling, Bennison has become an enthusiastic voice in efforts to tackle the problem. She is calling for brands to actively confront users that post hate on their social channels.
5 Michele Oliver
Vice-president, marketing, Mars
After leading inclusivity-driving work for Maltesers, such as this year’s "Celebrating similarities", which features women rarely seen in advertising, Oliver was rewarded with a new global brand purpose role. Mars has also jointly founded The Lion’s Share, a campaign to encourage advertisers to support conservation efforts when they feature animals in their ads.
4 Craig Inglis and Martin George
Customer directors, John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners
As the flurry of opinions around this year’s John Lewis Christmas campaign with Elton John demonstrates, Inglis – chair of The Marketing Society – has the power to shape culture like no-one else in the business. But 2018’s big rebrand project, in which Waitrose and John Lewis worked closely together, means that, for once, George gets equal billing.
3 Shadi Halliwell
Chief marketing officer, Three
Since Halliwell joined last September, Three – which previously struggled to diff erentiate itself next to its rivals – has livened things up. First, there was its "hybrid animals" campaign, which included a series of Snapchat firsts, and then in October, it launched the frenetic and confrontational "Phones are good" campaign.
2 Mark Evans
Marketing director, Direct Line Group
As well as pursuing ideas full of technological innovation, Evans has emerged as a cheerleader for ensuring neurodiversity is valued alongside gender and ethnic diversity. He was voted The Marketing Society’s Marketing Leader of the Year, and also became chairman of Front Foot, the Advertising Association’s campaign for advertising.
1 Keith Weed
Chief marketing and communications officer, Unilever
Weed threw down the gauntlet in February as he moved the conversation on from transparency and measurement, saying Unilever would pull adspend from digital platforms that "create divisions in society". Weed was named the World Federation of Advertisers’ Global Marketer of the Year and became president of the Advertising Association in September. At the start of the month, he announced he is to retire in May 2019.