McDonald’s Promotes Chief Marketer To Executive Suite; TIME, Denny’s, Broncos Welcome New CMOs

We’re tracking new hires and promotions among chief marketers at McDonald’s, Denny’s, TIME and the Denver Broncos this week.

McDonald’s Promotes Global CMO Morgan Flatley

As it lays the groundwork for growth opportunities in the near future, which includes elevating its marketing “through creative excellence,” McDonald’s announced the promotion of Global Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley to executive vice president, global chief marketing officer and new business ventures. In her new role, Flatley will lead new business ventures and opportunities that extend the brand’s reach as it aims to stay one step ahead of customer demand.

“Marketing has been an important growth driver for us, said Chris Kempczinski, president and CEO of McDonald’s. “Our creative excellence is making our brand not just more recognizable, but more relevant to our fans. I can confidently say that the McDonald’s marketing team is truly firing on all cylinders.”

Sadé Muhammad Named TIME Chief Marketing Officer

With more than a decade’s worth of experience in journalism and marketing, Sadé Muhammad joined the TIME team earlier this month as their new chief marketing officer, marking the first time the brand named a CMO since becoming an independent company in 2018. In her new role, Muhammad will aim to revitalize the TIME brand and accelerate its digital transformation and growth opportunities.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sadé, who has a proven track record of innovation, revenue generation, and building trust with audiences,” said TIME CEO Jessica Sibley. “As TIME enters a pivotal moment in its 100-year history, Sadé’s background as a marketer, trained journalist, and changemaker makes her the perfect person to lead TIME as our chief marketing officer.”

Prior to taking on the CMO mantle at TIME, Muhammad worked at Forbes, where she founded the company’s Representation & Inclusion Practice, a B2B ad business meant to encourage marketing partners to highlight DEI as foundational to their companies’ growth strategy. She also managed all business development, sales, marketing strategy, client relations and sponsorships for the initiative.

“My passion is harnessing the power of authentic brands to get audiences to listen and, in turn, unlock their unique power to affect change,” Muhammad said. “TIME is one of the world’s most trusted storytellers and I am thrilled to bring our partners’ stories to life with imaginative ideas to inspire a smarter, better marketplace.”

Denny’s Welcomes New CMO—Industry Leader Sherri Landry

Denny’s Corporation recently announced Sherri Landry, an industry veteran with more than 25 years of marketing experience with a focus on casual dining, would be taking over the role of senior vice president, chief marketing officer. 

She joins the restaurant chain after spending nearly five years at CEC Entertainment, where, as CMO, she oversaw multiple brands, including Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza. Prior to CEC Entertainment, Landry held marketing leadership roles at Pizza Hut, T.G.I. Fridays, Main Event Entertainment, Sara Lee and Procter and Gamble, among others.

“Sherri has the perfect blend of leadership experience and business savvy that we need to propel us through the next chapter of Denny’s brand evolution while honoring our brand purpose, feeding people’s bodies, minds and souls,” said John Dillon, Denny’s president. “Having worked with Sherri in the past, I know she will inspire our team members and franchisees with creativity and a strategic vision that will continue to fuel our growth in 2023. I could not be more thrilled to welcome Sherri to the Denny’s family.”

Landry will start her new role at the end of the month and will be tasked with spearheading the brand’s next phase of growth as it celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. “Denny’s is one of the most iconic American brands in the restaurant industry and beyond,” Landry said. “I am truly honored and looking forward to joining the Denny’s brand team and leading our marketing efforts at such a pivotal time.”

Denver Broncos Draft RealSelf CMO Hailey Sullivan

Earlier this week, the Denver Broncos announced Hailey Sullivan would be joining the team as its new chief marketing officer, leading the organization’s integrated marketing team to deepen relationships with current and future fans.

Sullivan makes this pivot into the world of sports after holding the CMO position at RealSelf, an online platform and community facilitating doctor-patient connections regarding cosmetic treatments. She also worked for MGA Entertainment from 2019-21, overseeing iconic brands like LOL Surprise, Bratz, Little Tikes and Rainbow High. And from 2010-2019, Sullivan held various positions at Mattel, working to grow brands like Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels and Thomas & Friends.

Analysts: Gaming Growth Expected In 2023 Despite Recession Fears

Despite economic uncertainty, analysts from sources as diverse as the World Economic Forum and Morgan Stanley are suggesting that the gaming industry will maintain growth in 2023.

Analysts And Investors Think Consumers Will Keep Gaming – Even In A Recession 

According to a recent post by The World Economic Forum, the millions of consumers who used gaming to cope with the uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic have continued to game, now for enjoyment and as an integral part of their lifestyles in 2023.

“So many existing and new gamers splashed out on games, consoles, and other kit during the pandemic that the market expanded by 26% between 2019 and 2021,” the post reads. That’s driven investment in the industry and a predicted boon in 2023. “The game industry’s swimming in cash,” Professor Joost van Dreunen of New York University told The New York Times at the height of the boom. “It’s just raining money on these people, on these companies,” the article states. More than 650 gaming M&A or investment deals were announced or closed in the first six months of 2022, and gaming companies, such as Epic Games, raised billions on the strength of the market, according to recent research.

That tracks with a recent analysis from Morgan Stanley, which states that the gaming industry will likely continue to grow in 2023, even as many consumers face the prospect of a recession. According to the report, this has been a historical trend, and the firm believes this will continue.

“After a sluggish 2022, the video gaming industry is set to unlock new levels of growth next year as more high-budget, high-profile games and next-generation consoles hit the market,” the report reads.

New Content Will Drive Growth In 2023

Morgan Stanley believes that 2023 will likely be “an inflection year” for the gaming industry.  

“Video game development teams are seeing better productivity and have improved efficiency. At the same time, titles that were strategically pushed back are now looking more likely to launch in 2023,” stated Morgan Stanley research analyst Seyon Park. “We see an abundance of quality content as the single most important factor behind our expectations for a strong market recovery heading into the upcoming holiday season.”

That analysis echoes a Bloomberg report which states that the gaming industry’s 4.2 percent decline in growth compared to 2021 reflects the delays in sought-after gaming titles. However, that will change in 2023, the article states.

“Now, 2023 is absolutely stacked: Nintendo Co.’s The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Electronic Arts Inc.’s Dead Space, Square Enix Holdings Co.’s Final Fantasy XVI, Activision Blizzard Inc.’s Diablo IV and others are due out this year,” the post reads. “The lineup of fresh releases will likely contribute to growth in consumer spending on games this year.”

The Power Of Breakthrough Creative With Geoff Tanner, Chief Commercial And Marketing Officer At J.M. Smucker Co.

Geoff Tanner is a passionate believer in the power of breakthrough creative. That philosophy and his passion for music lead to some of the most iconic campaigns of the past ten years. Geoff oversees the consumer and customer experience across the commercial funnel. He has a unique perspective on the blending of sales and marketing that helped JM Smucker transform from having a “sleepy” brand portfolio to being named on the Fast Company list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies.

In this episode, Geoff and I discuss the key elements JM Smucker targeted to transform the brand portfolio, marketing strategy, and operating model. Geoff tells us what “The Power of One” is, the importance of household penetration and reach, and how improved metrics will impact the future of marketing and creative

 In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How diverse the JM Smucker portfolio is and the impact of multiple acquisitions
  • How to maintain relevance for a brand that is over 100 years old
  • Issues with ROI and impact measurements, and what the future may look like

 Key Highlights

  • [01:30] How Geoff is giving back to his community through music
  • [05:22] The path from rugby in New Zealand to the C Suit at JM Smucker
  • [08:15] How the public should think about JM Smucker’s portfolio
  • [09:25] JM Smucker’s transformation and new marketing model
  • [13:15] The key elements Geoff and his team had to change to reach their goals
  • [13:50] What is the “Power of One,” and how did it impact their agency search
  • [15:00] Identifying what was most critical to driving the business
  • [16:10] Modernizing Meow Mix
  • [17:45] Ludacris and Jif Peanut Butter
  • [18:50] Facelift for Folgers
  • [20:20] The Byron Sharp and Mark Ritson Influence
  • [22:45] Transforming the “selling machine”
  • [24:30] Markers of growth
  • [27:05] The balance of reach and creative
  • [28:25] Talk about JB Steenkamp
  • [29:15] How getting an internship at Heinze shaped Geoff’s perspective
  • [31:25] Give back earlier and know your value
  • [34:15] The fusion between sales and marketing
  • [35:50] Brands Geoff has his eye on
  • [37:05] The threats and opportunities associated with mass media measurement

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies but is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Consumers Will Look To Influencers For Brand Discovery In 2023

A new survey of 11,000 adults across 11 countries shows a shift in consumer priorities and the role of influencers in brand discovery.

A new Capgemini survey, What Matters To Today’s Consumers, reveals consumer concern over the cost of living is driving them to be cautious about spending and look for affordable alternatives to higher priced goods—including new brands. Just over 60 percent of consumers surveyed in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the US stated that they were extremely concerned about their personal finances.

According to the report, that concern is causing an uptick in global consumer interest in discovering deals and new brands.

Price Concerns Are Changing Customer Spending Habits

Consumers are also spending less due to financial uncertainty. The report states that 73 percent of consumers are spending less on impulse buys, and 69 percent are cutting back on non-essential items and delaying purchases of high-ticket items. Another 65 percent of shoppers buy less expensive private label brands over familiar name brands, and 58 percent report spending more time online looking for bargains.

According to Graeme Pitkethly, CFO at Unilever, quoted in the report, “We are starting to see consumers down-trading and looking for [greater] value; Sales volumes are beginning to fall as some shoppers switch from branded goods to own-label products in a bid to make ends meet.” 

Those concerns are actually presenting a potential boon for discount retailers like Walmart.

According to Douglas McMillon, President and CEO of Walmart, also quoted in the report

“Higher-income families are shopping at Walmart because they are more price-sensitive now. Families making over $100,000 in household income have driven a lot of our growth since around the middle of the first quarter, when we saw food inflation reach a level where behavior was starting to change.” 

Consumers Are Turning To Influencers To Discover New Brands

According to the report, consumers—especially Americans—are increasingly looking to influencers to guide them in their purchasing decisions, including which brands to buy. The power of influencers is reflected in the surge in social commerce, which is projected to show a global compound annual growth rate of 30.8 percent in the period 2022–2023, rising to $6.2 trillion by 2030. According to the report, US consumers were the most impacted by influencer recommendations among all consumer groups. “Social media influencers are impacting consumers’ search and purchasing processes,” the report states. “Forty-one percent of US consumers have discovered a new product on social media, 31 percent learned of the product through an influencer, and 25 percent went on to purchase the product.” Gen Z consumers are the most impacted by influencer recommendations, with 48 percent reporting that they discovered a new product through an influencer interaction and 32 percent stating that they made a purchase due to an influencer’s recommendations.

Per the report, the importance of influencers will likely continue as consumers of all generations have high expectations for brands and retailers with respect to their desire to gain access to better deals. Sixty-nine percent of consumers expect companies to provide bigger discounts to loyal customers, and 70 percent want more generous discounts from their brands and retailers to help them afford clothing, food, and other critical items.

Influencers play a significant role in unearthing deals and value for budget-conscious consumers. According to Drieke Leenknegt, Chief Marketing Officer, Timberland, a VF company who is quoted in the report: “Brands need to create relationships with the people that are influencing customers; this kind of collaboration is now key to their survival.”

Read the full report here.

CES: Brands Showcase Emergent Tech That Amplifies Convenience And Inclusivity

CES 2023 will feature more than 2,200 exhibitors this year; some of the world’s most recognizable brands are showcasing tech that removes friction from consumer experiences and supporting innovations that fast-track their ability to deliver on brand promises.


Samsung has been leveraging technology to appeal to an appetite for multi-platform content since its first connected TV launched in 2008. Last year, they launched an NFT IRL event, Samsung Next, at the recent Art Basel Miami to showcase its creator collaborations and future plans for Web3 innovation. 

“Historically, consumers relied on dedicated hubs to connect each of their devices,” said Mark Benson, Head of Product and Engineering at Samsung SmartThings. “By integrating SmartThings Hub technology into select Samsung products, we are eliminating barriers to entry and streamlining the entire process to enable consumers to create the connected home of their dreams.”

Samsung is showcasing creator-friendly consumer electronics from its connected appliances line at this year’s CES, such as the Bespoke AI Oven, which the company says is “great for content creators and avid chefs who want to share their dishes.” The oven features an internal camera that can record the cooking process and upload footage to an online video or social platform. This tracks with recent Samsung social campaigns, such as #BespokeMyHome, which promotes the company’s Bespoke lines and its promotion of global food influencers for several years.

There may be another benefit to connected appliances — help for consumers with cognitive differences, such as ADHD, who may benefit from automation taking over tasks that require monitoring and focus. According to some research, IoT technologies can help adults with ADHD manage household tasks more effectively.

“At CES 2023, we are continuing to build on the success of our Bespoke lineup with the introduction of new Bespoke refrigerators and built-in appliances that give consumers even more ways to express themselves in their kitchens,” said Junhwa Lee, EVP and Head of the Customer Experience Team of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics.”

Amazon’s Alexa Fund

Several startups backed by Amazon’s Alexa Fund are presenting IoT products that propose tangible benefits to consumers with disabilities and a range of smart home tools that may make eco-friendly choices easier. One, Cognixion, is focused on making communication easier for those with physical challenges.

Cognixion is showcasing the Cognixion ONE “Assisted Reality” headset which helps individuals with severe speech impediments to use eye-tracking or a noninvasive brain-computer interface to spell out letters on an augmented-reality keyboard. This keyboard then uses AI to predict their completed sentence. Then, an Alexa-powered device will speak the sentence and use commands to interact with other smart home technologies.

According to the founder, the goal is to use Cognixion to open new possibilities in the metaverse for those who have limited speech capabilities.

“Cognixion is solving usability and accessibility issues for AR/XR and enabling new capabilities for people with disabilities today,” says Andreas Forsland, Cognixion founder and CEO, “And in the near future, we see our innovations becoming a fundamental part of the metaverse, as a biological interface plus highly adaptive algorithms that unlock new use cases for XR.”


L’Oréal is showcasing Hapta and Brow Magic at CES, tools that support beauty inclusivity for the estimated 50 million people with limited fine motor capabilities.

HAPTA is a motorized applicator that allows people with limited hand and arm mobility to apply lipstick precisely. L’Oréal’s Lancôme brand will launch the product. Brow Magic, another product to be released through Lancôme, uses L’Oréal’s Modiface AR technology. Users scan their faces using an app and receive microblading, micro-shading and filler guidance. Once a recommendation is selected, a user can move the device across the brow area and receive a customized brow design.

“Inclusivity is at the heart of our innovation and beauty tech strategy,” said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy CEO in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L’Oréal. “We are dedicated and passionate to bring new technologies powering beauty services that augment and reach every individual’s ultimate desires, expectations, and unmet needs.”

“For years, Lancôme has sought to provide every woman with beauty solutions adapted to their needs. Beauty tech has enabled us to fulfill this mission in an even more powerful way, revolutionizing the way we develop beauty products and services and enabling greater personalization,” said Françoise Lehmann, Lancôme Global Brand President. “With HAPTA, we are going one step further by making beauty more accessible to use because everyone should have equal access to it.”

Snap Leans Into AR Brand Experiences: Q&A With Snap Canada GM Matt McGowan

Back in 2011, Snapchat was brand new and augmented reality was just beginning to generate buzz as a potential tool to drive consumer engagement. Yet with the launch of Pokémon GO in 2016 and IKEA’s introduction of an AR-powered app in 2017, new consumer-facing applications for AR took center stage. 

Today, AR has been adopted by the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, through Snapchat’s Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses, which resulted in 161 million product trials for the brand.

“We’re always looking to create moments of product discovery on the channels where our customers spend their time,” notes Amanda Mulligan, Walmart’s director of social commerce. AR adoption is growing, and Catalog-Powered Shopping Lenses allow us to keep pace by enabling lens creation at scale and in an always-on capacity,” she said in Snapchat’s article, assessing the partnership’s success.

We spoke with Matt McGowan, Snap’s general manager for Canada, about how providing user-friendly AR tools has presented an opportunity for brands and creators.

Snap has come a long way in just over a decade. Can you tell us why the company has moved into developing these brand marketing tools? Is Snap still a social media-focused company?

It’s been a fun and educational three-plus years for me as GM here, as Snapchat has evolved as a technology company and continues to lead the way in augmented reality. From the beginning, Snapchat was built deliberately to be different: as an antidote to traditional social media platforms. Snapchat is, first and foremost, a visual communications app meant to enhance friendships and how people see the world without the pressure to be popular or perfect. We have an engaged community of over 363 million daily active Snapchatters worldwide, and we’re innovating every day to provide them with the power of AR at the palm of their hand for both fun and utility.

AR is something that a lot of people think of as mostly belonging to the gaming sphere. What would you say are some real-world applications for brand marketers? 

We truly believe AR is the future of computing, and the numbers are compelling. On average, over 250 million Snapchatters engage with AR every day on the app, and Snapchatters play with AR Lenses 6 billion times per day—that’s pretty telling.

Real-world applications for brand marketers are countless […] I like to think if you can imagine it, you can likely achieve it with AR. We’ve seen auto companies set up AR showrooms so consumers could see the features of the car they were planning to buy via an AR immersive experience; take a look at the Jeep Code campaign. We’re also seeing huge uptake when it comes to brands/retailers of all sizes utilizing AR for “try-on,” including accessories, shoes, makeup, and clothing. AR allows the consumer to go from “that looks good” to “that looks good on me!”

What are some ways you’ve seen marketers use AR beyond retail?

Interestingly, now with events back to live and in-person, we’re seeing AR being used to enhance these experiences in addition to entertainment purposes, like promoting new movies and facilitating fan and audience experiences at sporting events, musical festivals, and concerts. Education is another interesting use case too. Whether it’s product education or advocating for causes, AR has been used to engage, educate and inspire Snapchatters worldwide.

We see success using AR across so many verticals and varied use cases because AR delivers almost two times the level of visual attention compared to non-AR equivalents, leading to improved memories and more powerful consumer responses. Additionally, brands with branded AR experiences are 41 percent more likely to be considered by consumers.

What about influencers and other creators—are they also using Snap AR? If so, what has worked for them?

Well, that’s the beauty of AR; it can be used for so many use cases and by virtually anybody. When it comes to creators, we definitely see AR continuing to be used by influencers and other creators—and celebs—to engage audiences. Think about some of our most popular Lenses from 2022. For example, the “Crying Lens” was used on Spotlight by David Dobrik, King Kumar and Jack Doherty, and Kylie Jenner took the Snapchat Lens to her other social platforms, using it at the Met Gala to poke fun at her sisters. Since launch, Snapchatters engaged with the Crying Lens more than 9.7 billion times.

When we talk about creators, we must also consider the AR dev community. Are there some examples of how that community is working with Snap and brands?

From a more technical standpoint, Snap has a robust and extremely talented creator community. AR creators, developers and partners are tapping into our community’s engagement and excitement about augmented reality today and its vast potential for the future. As we recently announced at Lens Fest 2022, there are over 300,000 creators, developers and teams around the world who’ve built more than 3 million AR Lenses. Additionally, AR developers are building strong businesses on our platform using Lens Studio.

Matt McGowan is GM of Snap Inc Canada.

Being Instinct-Led And Data-Supported With Jay Livingston, CMO At Shake Shack

Jay Livingston is not only a great CMO but also an active angel investor, executive producer, and founding member of Unite America. No matter what he is doing, storytelling is always the underlying theme.

In this episode, Jay and I discuss the importance of the CMO vibing with the CEO, why he loves working with “passion brands” that have a good origin story, and the unique benefit of overseeing product, pricing, digital experience, and marketing at Shake Shack. Jay tells us how Shake Shack is living out its mission to “stand for something good” by being an “instinct-led and data-supported” business that partners with local leaders to maintain authenticity while scaling globally.

 In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How Jay and Shake Shack weave purpose into everything they do
  • What makes the CMO role at Shake Shack so unique
  • How Shake Shack is delivering hospitality through digital channels

 Key Highlights

  • [01:55] The common thread that connects all of Jay’s interests
  • [04:15] Jay’s mid-career sabbatical
  • [06:30] The criteria Jay looked for in his ideal CMO role
  • [08:05] Shake Shack’s origin story
  • [09:50] How Jay got connected to Shake Shack
  • [11:20] How this CMO role is different than other CMO roles
  • [15:05] How Shake Shack is maintaining its local relevance while scaling globally
  • [16:50] The data function of the culinary side and guest preferences
  • [19:10] Digital efforts – where Shake Shack started and where they are today
  • [22:40] The team behind the CMO
  • [23:25] The career path vs. the career meadow
  • [25:15] Jay’s investment thesis
  • [27:25] The importance of curiosity
  • [31:00] Why Jay advises going wide with your interests

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies but is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

The Data Of Decision Making With Greg Dolan, CEO At Keen Decision Systems

Greg Dolan has over a decade of experience as a brand marketing executive. He co-founded Keen to give marketers a tool that could “help them make smarter decisions about how to drive their brand forward by using future-focused metrics that are directly tied to financial performance.”

In this episode, Greg and I discuss how Keen’s work impacts marketing performance across the industry, what the data tells us about long-held best practices, and why so many companies are working to strengthen first-party data relationships.

 In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How companies should think about marketing in a downturn or recession
  • Greg’s take on the reach versus targeting debate and what the data tells us
  • The importance of demonstrating the financial value of a marketing decision

 Key Highlights

  • [01:20] Greg’s other full-time job
  • [02:50] How Greg became CEO at keen
  • [04:00] What Keen does
  • [06:50] Why marketers need to look at performance across all channels
  • [10:20] What should marketers be thinking about when operating in a down economy
  • [15:00] Understanding the objective of the brand and how that frames decision making
  • [15:55] What Keen is seeing with reach versus targeting
  • [17:45] The rise of AI and machine learning in creative and marketing decision making
  • [19:50] What the data says about the 60/40 long-term/short-term rule of thumb
  • [22:55] How Keen is helping marketers transition from direct measurement to inference
  • [25:45] Two examples of why you need to consider diversification in measurements
  • [28:15] How persevering through adversity made Greg a better entrepreneur
  • [30:00] The benefits of slowing down
  • [31:15] Why organizations need to shift to a holistic strategic perspective
  • [35:50] Embracing AI technology to win in the long term
  • [36:50] The need to be able to demonstrate the financial value of  marketing

Resources Mentioned:

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Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies but is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.