Virgin Fest Hires Steve Levy As CMO

This week in marketing leadership moves, Virgin Fest names Steve Levy CMO. 

Virgin Fest Appoints Former EDC Marketer As CMO

According to Variety, Virgin Fest has named Steve Levy CMO, making him the sales and marketing lead for the brand’s live event portfolio including Virgin Fest and Kaaboo. Virgin Fest is scheduled for June 6 and 7 at Los Angeles’ Banc of California Stadium + Expositions Park.

Levy was previously head of marketing and digital for the Electric Daisy Carnival since 2017.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 10. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing OfficerMotorolaChicago, Illinois
VP, Marketing SoundtracksDisney Music GroupBurbank, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX
Chief Marketing OfficerNew York Public Radio New York City, NY
SVP, Marketing And CommunicationsPBS SoCal  Burbank, CA

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.

What We’re Reading–Week Of March 30th

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of March 30.

Wellness Brands Grapple With Advertising During Coronavirus

Wellness brands are navigating a delicate scenario of advertising the benefits of supplements during the current health crisis.

Why it matters: Claims made by wellness brands touting immunity-boosting supplements could toe the line, as the current crisis looms heavily on consumers, between reaching a growing contingent of potential consumers while avoiding deceptive marketing claims.

Influencers Have A Captive Audience During The Pandemic. But Can They Capitalise On It?
Business Of Fashion

“Influencers are discovering their party dresses and hair care don’t qualify as essential.”

Why it matters: Influencers may have the rapt attention of those on lockdown, but canceled partnerships, shuttered retailers and slumping sales are minimizing their impact.

‘Companies Are In Freeze Mode’: Coronavirus Crisis Strains Ad Tech Licensing Model

“A whole host of companies in the SaaS space are now seeing their new business pipelines evaporate, experts told Digiday.”

Why it matters: As CFOs scrutinize discretionary spending to brace for an economic downturn and events that could turn on new leads disappear from the landscape, the ad tech licensing model deserves a hard look.

Cannes Lions 2020 Cancelled As Organisers Hold Back Festival And Awards Until 2021
The Drum

While slated for an October postponement originally, the ad industry’s largest annual gathering, Cannes Lions 2020, has now been officially canceled.

Why it matters: Cannes Lions chairperson Philip Thomas remarked that the creative industry “simply isn’t in a position to put forward the work that will set the benchmark.”

Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Claws Its Way Into Brands’ Tweets

Ad Age

The cultural gravitational pull of Tiger King is proving inescapable on Twitter, even for brands.

Why it matters: Escapism is fully acceptable in times of crisis, and for coronavirus it would seem Tiger King is distraction number one. Here’s a roundup of brands commenting on the longstanding feud between Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin brought to life by the new Netflix series.

The Rise Of The Strategic CMO

Ad Age

The role of chief marketing officer has come to embody that of a strategic storyteller who spots trends and identifies narrative, a leader of collaborative efforts that ensures honest flow of communication and a revenue leader that effectively expresses insights internally and externally.

Why it matters: Chief marketing officers who use tools and opportunities brought on by technologies will be well placed to succeed.

What The Coronavirus Means For DTC Brands

Marketing Dive

According to Edison Trends, direct-to-consumer brand week-over-week spending dropped seven percent on average from March 2-22.

Why it matters: The coronavirus has disrupted operations for digitally native brands too, not just brick-and-mortars. How much cash these brands have available will better position some against the impacts of COVID-19.

What Happens To Sports Marketing Budgets Without Sports? 


Brands are pausing sponsorships for postponed events such as the Olympics, NFL and MLB but fear fans will be reluctant to visit crowded stadiums once the pandemic is over.

Why it matters: Sports marketers are repurposing their budgets to sponsorships to virtual sports and esports, allowing brands to reach a younger male demographic.

Why Marketers Should Focus On Audience To Navigate The New Normal


The coronavirus necessitates brands understand the fragmentation in customers’ attention and leverage addressable technology to continue creating personalized audience experiences.

Why it matters: Adopting an audience-first mentality will be key to connecting with today’s coronavirus-concerned consumers.

Americans Want Brands To Do Their Part Against Coronavirus, Then Advertise


The Harris Poll is surveying public sentiment about the coronavirus; the fifth wave of responses, polled Mach 28-30, show consumers want brands to stay relevant amid the pandemic and only advertise if they’ve directly addressed the situation. 

After things die down, 63 percent of respondents marked a willingness to go about their normal routines and 43 percent said they would visit restaurants by the first month post-pandemic.

Why it matters: Brands that acknowledge the crisis now will have a better chance of boosting brand perception in the long run

Council Post: Why Cause Marketing Matters More Now Than Ever Before


Brands that help consumers adapt and redesign their lives will establish themselves as the cornerstones of society’s “new normal.”

Why it matters: In light of the coronavirus pandemic, marketing with a cause is more important than ever because consumers don’t want to hear anything about a business unless it serves them.

Ensure That Your Customer Relationships Outlast Coronavirus

Harvard Business Review

To preserve customer relationships, small and large businesses alike can adopt the HEART framework to humanize their company, educate about change, assure stability, revolutionize offerings and tackle the future.

Why it matters: Leveraging a framework like HEART helps display to customers a company’s plan for supporting them–a critical aspect that should be overcommunicated during the coronavirus crisis.

Mitigating The Damage Of Mega-Event Cancellations Due To Coronavirus

Marketing Dive

Big industry events have been canceled for fear of coronavirus spreading and the trend is not slowing down, however, brands can create a disaster fallback plan.

Why it matters: Last-minute cancelations are causing major disruptions for new product launches including lost exposure and lost investments. 

NPD Shares How COVID-19 Is impacting Weekly Consumption Trends


Consumer behavior has changed from discretionary to necessity as a result of fear over the coronavirus pandemic, causing dollar growth to be flat in the week ending on March 14, according to NPD.

Why it matters: Companies that provide useful products or services as people work from home such as the consumer tech space, small appliances and products that help people pass the time will see growth.

‘Be Helpful’: How Marketers Are Adapting Their Messaging To A Fraught Environment


Marketers are shifting away from promotions or sales-driven messaging to cause-related and purpose-driven messaging.

Why it matters: Revising campaign messaging to reflect sensitivity and avoid promotional language requires a delicate balance that brands are still trying to figure out.

Consumers Are Putting Brands On Notice Over Coronavirus Behaviour, Study Finds

A special edition of the Edelman Trust Barometer suggests that how brands respond to the coronavirus pandemic will have a “huge impact” on consumers’ likelihood to buy their products.

Why it matters: “One in three respondents said they had already stopped using a brand that was not acting appropriately in response to the public-health crisis – a figure that rose to 76% of consumers in Brazil and 60% in India.”

What actions is your brand taking right now to gain consumer trust during the coronavirus crisis?

Reinventing The Direct-To-Consumer Business Model
Harvard Business Review

At its core, the DTC business model needs some TLC.

Why it matters: For DTC brands, “it is far harder to become a standout success in 2020 than it was in 2010,” mainly due to a crowded yet changed landscape, the limits of scaling using Instagram ads and influencers as well as the changing attitudes of investors.

Hasbro Supports Families Staying Indoors With New Online Resources
Marketing Dive

Hasbro launched a new content marketing program called Bring Home The Fun, which includes a social media campaign and charitable donations, aimed at parents looking for ways to keep their homebound children entertained during the nationwide lockdown.

Why it matters: As recent reports indicate, consumers expect brands to address the current crisis. Hasbro’s messaging speaks directly to parents coping with the impact of coronavirus in an authentic way: via their own employees who are also parents.

Making The Most Of Your Marketing Team During COVID-19

Forbes CMO Network contributor Christine Moorman shares a few tips to make the most of marketing teams during these uncertain times.

Why it matters: Disruptions like we’re experiencing should give team leaders pause. How are you changing your management style to adapt to this new reality?

Opinion: How Brands Treat Their Partners Now Will Have Consequences For Their Post-Pandemic Potential

Your decision-making process during this unprecedented period of upheaval should look to the future relationship you’ll have with your partners.

Why it matters: What used to be important is now essential. “Decisions driven by short-term expediency to unfairly off-load the costs of this disaster onto vendors and partners may seem easy now, but they will surely have consequences later.”

‘We’re All In This Together’? Why Brands Have So Little To Say In The Pandemic

Fast Company

Coronavirus induced changes in advertising tactics embody an overall message of, “We’re all in this together,” that also covers a combination of categories including action, information and support.

Why it matters: Brands struggling to respond to coronavirus should look to the latest social media posts and television ads of Hanes, Ford, Hyundai, Budweiser, Lexus, Nike and Guinness for guidance.

How Employers Are Taking Care Of Their Workers During COVID-19


Companies are helping create virtual office cultures, hosting virtual workout classes for employees and covering food delivery for some. 

Why it matters: Overcommunication in the age of the coronavirus is one of the most critical ways employers can gain the support and trust of their team.

How To Create A Successful Marketing Strategy Using A Single Decision Framework


Successful marketing relies on running multiple experiments on different channels to determine the best performing channel for a business. 

Why it matters: When deciding which marketing channel is best, founder of Robbie Abed suggests picking three marketing channels that could meet your company’s core metrics then gives it three months to run a campaign for each channel.

Council Post: Four Ways To Use AI For Marketing


Four ways to start using artificial intelligence-based marketing software include customer targeting and developing buyer personas, campaign monitoring, sales forecasting and chatbots.

Why it matters: Forty percent of marketing and sales teams say data science encompassing AI and machine learning is critical to their success as a department.

40% Of Marketers And Retailers Expect Layoffs Due To The Coronavirus


Digiday’s survey found that 40 percent of top execs expect to have layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic and for 83 percent of respondents, the virus will also cause them to miss their forecasts for 2020.

Why it matters: Marketers and retailers are struggling to keep up with the economic impact of the virus, with situations worsening.

How Popeyes’ New Global CMO Plans To Make The Niche Brand Into A Mass Brand


In January, Popeyes named Paloma Azulay the brand’s global chief marketing officer, the same role she held previously at Tim Hortons.

Why it matters: Per Azulay: “We had this amazing hype for the sandwich last year, but when you look at the brand in the long term there is not a lot of association and loyalty in terms of having a large base of people that come to us frequently.” Azulay says the brand has its eye on China and will open there very soon.

3 Ways Marketing Strategies Will Need To Shift To Deal With Coronavirus Complications


Three ways marketing strategies will need to change include replacing handshakes with virtual interactions, shifting dollars to digital and remaining agile and keeping a firm pulse on audience engagement.
Why it matters:
The coronavirus pandemic has a chokehold on business operations and brands must respond with focus, not fear.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 3. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at

EasyJet Drops CMO Role As Lis Blair Departs

This week in marketing leadership moves, EasyJet scraps the CMO role upon Lis Blair’s departure and NPR hires Michael Smith as CMO.

EasyJet Drops CMO Role As Lis Blair Departs

Per MarketingWeek, Lis Blair is leaving EasyJet after eight years, prompting the company to scrap the CMO role and not seek a replacement. 

This will allow EasyJet to restructure its board so that marketing, customer, digital and insight report into the company’s chief commercial officer, Robert Care.

This week in marketing leadership moves, NPR hires Michael Smith as CMO and Elana Gold is named Fresh Del Monte’s new VP and CMO.

NPR Hires Michael Smith As CMO

NPR president and CEO John Lansing has named Michael Smith the company’s head marketer, effective April 6.

Smith most recently served as SVP, GM digital channels for Scripps Network, where he developed strategies to reach diverse, younger audiences on new digital streaming platforms. Prior to that, Smith was SVP, GM cooking channel and food category brand extensions.

Elana Gold Named CMO and VP Of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.

According to a press release, Fresh Del Monte named Elana Gold the company’s new VP and CMO. In this role, Gold will lead the company’s global marketing efforts and report to the company’s president and COO Youssef Zakharia.

Gold comes from Before Brands where she was CCO. Prior to that, she served as Abbot Nutritional International’s divisional VP of marketing.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, April 3. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Chief Marketing OfficerMotorolaChicago, Illinois
VP, Marketing SoundtracksDisney Music GroupBurbank, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.

Coronavirus Causes Brands To Pause Affiliate Programs

In light of the coronavirus pandemic and slashes in costs, some major chains are pausing their affiliate link programs, leading influencers to figure out how to supplement their once-main source of income.

The Business of Fashion reports Ulta Beauty, Macy’s, Dillards and T.J. Maxx are among the brands to temporarily close their affiliate programs. This means influencers and media companies are cut off from the sales commissions they were receiving from posting links to products.  

Ulta stopped its affiliate program on March 22 and others followed suit: Macy’s Inc. informed participants it would pause its affiliate program on March 24, T.J. Maxx on March 26 and Dillard’s on March 30. In an email to its affiliate partners, Dillard’s said, “the decision was made due to the impact of COVID-19 and the realignment of marketing strategy.”

In 2017, $5.3 billion was spent on affiliate marketing. The figure is estimated to reach $6.8 billion this year. 

Affiliate marketing is critical for customer acquisition, with over half of marketers citing it as one of their top three revenue drivers, according to a study for Pepper Jam conducted by Forrester. In addition to putting marketers in control with performance and pricing model flexibility, affiliate programs are less susceptible to issues like fraud, brand safety and return on investment (ROI) visibility. 

With all non-essential businesses closed, millions of companies across all industries have been forced to cut costs and lay off workers. Some brands hope to bandage the situation through ecommerce sales, making now a seemingly opportune moment to leverage influencers. In fact, Pepper Jam reported an 43 percent increase in sales from affiliate links over the last two weeks of March, as BoF notes.

Still, companies can’t spare the expense of affiliate programs right now, leaving influencers with an even heavier financial burden given many of their agreements outside of affiliate links have also been paused or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. To get ahead of the problem, influencers should find ways to work with brands that sell essentials.

Nicole Ron, the vice president of marketing at CJ Affiliate, told BoF, “We are seeing a trend in consumers not shopping for luxury goods and spending more on creating a good environment to live in for the foreseeable future,” Ron said. “Influencers can shift to affiliate programs that are seeing growth, like productivity items, online education, and grocery goods. This is an opportunity to work with brands that aren’t having a knee-jerk reaction and provide consumers with what they need.”

What We’re Reading—Week Of March 23rd

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of March 23.

Marketers Think COVID-19 Will Be Worse For Advertising Than The 2008 Financial Crisis

A survey from the IAB suggests how marketers plan to calibrate their advertising decisions in light of the current crisis, including a figure that 74 percent of respondents said they think the coronavirus pandemic will have a larger impact on the advertising spend than the 2008 financial crisis.

Why it matters: The survey highlights just how marketers plan to adjust spend for the year.

Doing Their bit In A Crisis: Dyson, Yves Saint Laurent, Spotify, John Lewis And More

How brands are supporting initiatives around coronavirus, from fabricating ventilators to supporting the NHS.

Why it matters: Recent findings support brands taking a stand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Grocery Private Brands Stand To Gain In A Post-Coronavirus World
Modern Retail

“Private brands present a customer acquisition opportunity — especially as people’s shopping patterns dramatically change.”

Why it matters: Consumer behaviors and shopping patterns will certainly be affected by this crisis beyond the current inflection point, but to what extent remains a major question.

How Companies Can Set Employees Up For Success When Working From Home

“Companies should consider several factors to ensure employees feel supported and enabled during this time.”

Why it matters: Adapting to this new work from home paradigm means equipping your employees with the right tools and setting expectations.

Just 8% Of Consumers Think Brands Should Stop Advertising Due To The Coronavirus Outbreak
Marketing Week

“A survey of more than 35,000 consumers globally by Kantar found that just 8% thought brands should stop advertising.”

Why it matters: Listen to the consumers: they’re expecting brands to address what everyone is facing now.

A Regularly Updated List Tracking Marketers’ Response To Coronavirus

A roundup of how brands including QuickBooks, Jimmy John’s, JanSport, Crocs and Ford are responding to coronavirus and tweaking ad campaigns.

Why it matters: Businesses of all sizes are experiencing negative fallout from the pandemic and silence from brands isn’t an option in the eyes of consumers.

What Coronavirus Means For Sports Marketing
Marketing Dive

Brands, especially smaller ones, must come up with a new plan or redirect budgets to social and esports if they’re to continue marketing to sports.

Why it matters: As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA suspended its season and the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics has been rescheduled to a date beyond 2020.

Nike: In Times Like These, Strong Brands Get Even Stronger
Marketing Week

On an analyst call, Nike CEO John Donahoe said his teams are exploring designs for personal protective equipment for doctors, nurses and others on the coronavirus frontline. Additionally, Nike has made the premium part of its app free for 90 days and launched a digital campaign across the US and Europe with the messaging, “Play inside, play for the world.”

Why it matters: After closing its China stores as the country fought to contain the virus (with now 80 percent of stores back open), Nike is applying what it learned abroad to the US market.

The Significance Of Brand Marketers’ Response During COVID-19 Crisis
Chief Marketer

Consumer packaged goods brands have the potential to use digital ads to support consumers and help alleviate their concerns via product-centric tutorials and educational content.

Why it matters: How marketers respond to the pandemic can impact brand perception in the long-term.

‘Your Communities Want To Hear From You More Than Ever’: How SAP CMO Alicia Tillman Is Leading Through The Coronavirus Crisis

After canceling three of its own customer events at SXSW, SAP’s CMO Alicia Tillman instructed her team to reshape what has been a physical approach with events via digital and short-term activations including a heavy dependence on social media.

Why it matters: Communication with consumers during the coronavirus crisis should be a top priority for brands.

Social Conscious Brands Are Winning Big With Influencer Marketing


Consumers are increasingly making purchases based on their beliefs and expect brands to show their beliefs.

Why it matters: Cause-marketing and sustainability create positive associations for brands and influencers.

Starting As CMO During The COVID-19 Pandemic


Think3 CMO Adam Singer found that Fortune 500 businesses aren’t equipped for remote workforce management.

Why it matters: Social distancing in the age of coronavirus will show which brands have effective teleworking policies in place around onboarding and creative management.

The Power Of Purpose: How The Advertising, Marketing And Media Industries Can Help Fight Coronavirus


Repurposing ad creative, donating media time, creating at-home experiences and sponsoring the early release of movies and content to create virtual premieres are all ways ad and marketing industries can lift spirits during the pandemic.

Why it matters: Brands that deploy tone-deaf campaigns or messaging right now run the risk of losing customers.

How Burger King’s Data-Driven Marketing Drives Strategic Growth: Q&A With Antonello Alexandre

MarTech Advisor

Alexandre says the key takeaways for Burger King campaigns include tapping into local insights, leveraging macro consumers trends fast, spending time in the field and integrating data from multiple sources.

Why it matters: Using local insights, Burger King ran a television spot around its mango habanero sandwich, which led to the brand doubling its sales in the premium layer of its menu.

Are You Leading Through The Crisis … Or Managing The Response?

Harvard Business Review

During crises, many leaders either take a narrow view, get seduced by managing, over-centralize the response or forget the human factors.

Why it matters: The authors note that crises are most often over-managed and under-led. Leaders need to tread lightly and wisely during coronavirus as their actions will determine their fate.

Five Key Moves To Make Now To Adapt To The Coronavirus Economy


Brands should make immediate investments in ecommerce experiences, enlist chatbots and voice assistants, leverage voice search, focus on first-party data and embrace personalization.

Why it matters: As consumers self-quarantine, they will turn to digital channels for every part of the purchase funnel.

Brands Promote Social Distancing With Altered Logos, Slogans

Brands are creatively employing the concept of social distancing in marketing around the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Messaging demands a delicate touch right now as brands navigate the right approach to something everyone is dealing with.

4As: 56% Of Consumers Interested In Brands’ COVID-19 Initiatives
Marketing Dive

Over half of consumers surveyed were happy with brands’ cause-marketing initiatives in response to the coronavirus crisis, according to a new survey from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) and market research platform Suzy.

Why it matters: “Only 15 percent of consumers said they did not want to hear from brands at this time.” How is your brand responding to COVID-19?

Olympics Postponement Brings Confusion To An Already Nervous Ad Industry
Marketing Dive

The Tokyo Summer Games have been postponed until summer 2021 throwing more of the industry into a tailspin.

Why it matters: After fraught cancelations from SXSW and a late postponement from Cannes Lions, sponsors and advertisers have been bracing for the next domino to fall. It’s time to survey the landscape.

Coca-Cola GB Suspends All Marketing Activity
PR Week

Coca-Cola (which includes Diet Coke, Coca-Cola Zero, Fanta, Sprite and Powerade) is suspending all of its marketing activities in Great Britain due to the coronavirus crisis.

Why it matters: A Coca-Cola spokesperson noted the direction the brand will be taking in lieu of marketing activities: “As we all adjust to these very different circumstances, we will focus our efforts on how we can make a difference to our consumers, customers and communities in the weeks and months ahead.

Marketing In The Age Of Coronavirus: The Dos And (Many) Don’ts

Pause, read this article and reflect before considering your coronavirus “angle.”

Why it matters: “When people and companies start capitalizing on an opportunity like this, for the at-home shopper, it reeks of opportunism and strikes the wrong tone.”

Are Brands Living Up To Their Purpose During The Coronavirus Crisis? 


Pret a Manger CEO Pano Christou said in his blog that the brand would close its seating areas and operate on a to-go basis only, offering National Health Service workers free hot drinks and providing a 50 percent discount on all other products. Conversely, Tesla was accused of violating orders to conduct minimal operations at its California factory.

Why it matters: Brands have the chance to show their true colors in how they respond to coronavirus.

Cause Marketing In The Time Of COVID-19

Chief Marketer

Chief Marketer’s roundup of brands helping the community amid coronavirus includes Burger King, the NBA, Walgreens, Under Armour, Tito’s Vodka, Hootsuite, Jameson, T-Mobile, KFC, Kraft Heinz, Apple, Shopify and Facebook.

Why it matters: Brands need to prove to consumers that they’re listening to communities.

DTC Brands Are Tightening Up How Much They Spend On Digital Advertising 

Modern Retail

CEO of Within Joe Yakuel estimates that his clients’ ad spend dropped over 20 percent in the second week of March, likely as a result of shoppers tightening up their wallets because of coronavirus.

Why it matters: Brands will have to figure out how to market their products and services as an essential or a good deal.

How Marketers And Agencies Are Trying To Strike The Right Tone In The Age Of Coronavirus


KFC, Coors Light and Hershey’s recently pulled television spots to avoid coronavirus insensitivities.

Why it matters: As consumers navigate the effects of the coronavirus on their daily lives and finances, brands must tailor messaging accordingly. 

Why Google’s Decision To Withhold Programmatic Data Is Pushing Some Advertisers To Pull Ad Spend


Digiday reports that Google rejected one US based retailer’s request for granular log-level data about the programmatic bids they won and lost over the key festive period in 2019.

Why it matters: Google’s decision to withhold data has led to a handful of sophisticated programmatic advertisers to pull from Google’s marketplace. As an alternative, some advertisers are resorting to supply-path optimization techniques to broker better programmatic deals. 

Creative Works: What Brands Are Doing For The Coronavirus Pandemic

The Drum

A roundup of creative ads and spots showing how brands are communicating with consumers during coronavirus, including an ad from Mucinex with the messaging, “Spread facts, not fear. Fingers off your face. It’s an easy way to get sick.”

Why it matters: Brands need to acknowledge what consumers are going through as a result of coronavirus.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 27. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at

ANA Assembles CMOs For Coronavirus Coalition

This week in marketing leadership moves, the ANA taps CMOs for a coronavirus coalition, Popeyes hires Paloma Azulay as global CMO, Syl Saller retires from Diageo and The Washington Post brings on Brad Feldman as head of brand strategy and partnerships marketing.

ANA Calls On CMOs To Form Coronavirus Coalition

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is assembling high-profile chief marketing officers as part of its coronavirus coalition for the purpose of setting industry standards and providing leadership guidance for CMOs across the industry.

“We’re once again turning our leadership community of CMOs into the force for action that our industry needs now,” CEO of ANA, Bob Liodice, in a statement announcing the coalition. “It is to help chief marketers shape intelligent practices and provide functional guidance through this unprecedented time,” Liodice said.

Popeyes Hires Paloma Azulay As Global CMO

Paloma Azulay started as Popeyes global CMO in January and reports to Fernando Machado, global CMO of Restaurant Brands International, as reported by PRWeek.

Azulay joins Popeyes from Tim Hortons, where she held the same role. 

Machado said the goal is to have one CMO for each of Restaurant Brands International’s brands (Popeyes, Burger King and Tim Horton).

Syl Saller Retires From CMO Role At Diageo

The Drum reports that Syl Saller, who joined Diageo in 1999 as marketing director for Great Britain, is retiring from her position as CMO. 

Saller held the chief marketing officer position since 2013. She will be replaced by Cristina Diezhandino, who has been with Diageo for 13 years and is currently the global category director for Scotch and managing director for Diageo’s luxury brands business.

“Deciding to leave and embark on the next stage of my career is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Diageo is the most incredible company, with people who are talented, committed, and passionate,” said Saller.

Brad Feldman Named Washington Post Head Of Brand Strategy, Partnerships Marketing 

Today The Washington Post announced the addition of Brad Feldman to its client solutions team as head of brand strategy and partnerships marketing. Feldman, who will report to client solutions’ VP of marketing Raquelle Zuzarte, most recently served as VP of creative strategy and content partnerships for WarnerMedia’s Ignite division. 

MGM Resorts Brings On Bill Hornbuckle As Acting CEO

According to HospitalityNet, MGM Resorts International has made company COO and president Bill Hornbuckle acting CEO and president. Hornbuckle will replace chairman and CEO Jim Murren, who in early February said he would be stepping down prior to the expiration of his contract. 

Hornbuckle is also currently an executive committee member and a board of director of MGM China Holdings with operations and resorts in Macau. He was previously CMO of MGM Resorts from 2009-2012.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 27. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

Vice President, Global MarketingTimberlandNew Hampshire, NE
VP, Marketing SoundtracksDisney Music GroupBurbank, CA
SVP, Integrated MarketingZillow GroupPasadena, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX
Chief Marketing OfficerNPRWashington D.C.

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.

200 Episodes And Counting–A Look Back

During this 200th episode of “Marketing Today,” I look back at the previous 199 episodes and share highlights from some of my favorite interviews over the past five years.

We begin with Colleen Sellers, who spoke powerfully about being a working mom and the only female interviewed that day. Then we look back at a great conversation with the late Tom Bick, who had amazing one-liners and advice for marketers that got right to the point. 

Kim Whitler is one of the academics we’ve had on the show, and we discussed the role of marketers on corporate boards. Then the legendary Phil Kotler told us what has and hasn’t changed in marketing over the last fifty years. He remarked, “Every marketing decision also has some possible impact on our resources, on our communities, on our planet.” 

I also share highlights from my discussions with Kevin Lane Keller, Byron Sharp, and JB Steenkamp. During my second interview with Mark Ritson, he made an incredible endorsement of this podcast. We close out this episode with highlights from my discussion with thought leader Seth Godin, who said, “Marketing…is the act of making change happen.” 

I am thankful for the many friendships formed from these conversations over the past five years and thankful, as ever, for listeners. 

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • Colleen Sellers defines marketing effectiveness. (01:44)
  • Hear Colleen’s thoughts on how customer insight drives strategy. (02:19) 
  • Colleen Sellers on being a working mom and the only female interviewed that day. (02:50)
  • Tom Bick demonstrates his mastery of the art and science of marketing. (07:32) 
  • Tom Bick shares what he thought of as the most significant marketing opportunity out there. (10:59) 
  • Tom Bick demonstrates his irreplaceable wit and intelligence as he shares advice for marketers. (13:06)
  • Kim Whitler on the impact of marketing experience at the board level of companies. (14:49) 
  •  Kim Whitler discusses the place of marketers on boards. (17:25)
  • Phil Kotler describes what hasn’t changed in the last 50 years. (19:35)
  • Phil Kotler describes what has changed over the previous fifty years. (20:03)
  • Kevin Lane Keller addresses purpose in brand. (23:18)
  • Byron Sharp discusses his book How Brands Grow. (28:05)
  • JB Steenkamp describes what inspired his study of private labels. (30:34)
  • Mark Ritson discusses his passion for educating marketers and makes a big endorsement. (32:57)
  • Seth Godin sets a new bar for marketers. (37:12)

Resources Mentioned:

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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 opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Ecommerce Ad Spend Doubles From $4.8 Million To $9.6 Million

Ecommerce ad spend jumped from $4.8 million to $9.6 million during the course of just one month, from February 17 to March 9, according to MediaRadar. The online shopping boom comes as restaurants remain closed and new teleworking policies are implemented amid the coronavirus pandemic.

To contain the virus, California, Illinois and New York have ordered residents to stay in their homes, restricting any travel other than for vital reasons such as grocery shopping, visits to the pharmacy and medical checkups. With over 70 million Americans practicing social distancing, online shopping activity is growing exponentially. 

According to a survey from Coresight Research, nearly half (47.2 percent) of US internet users in February said they’re avoiding shopping centers and malls. At the same time, about 75 percent of respondents said they would steer clear from shopping centers altogether if the outbreak worsens. Older consumers are being extra cautious as nine in 10 of respondents over 45 said were likely to avoid physical stores in general if the coronavirus spreads.

Digital retailers are adjusting operations to keep up with demand. Last week Amazon announced it would be hiring 100,000 new full and part-time warehouse and delivery workers in the US. Amazon will also increase workers’ pay for a total of $350 million in increased compensation for hourly employees across the US, Europe and Canada.

According to eMarketer, some Amazon shoppers have received notifications that say, “We’re very sorry your delivery is late. Most late packages arrive in a day. If you have not received your package by tomorrow, you can come back here the next day for a refund or a replacement.”

eMarketer updated its 2020 global ad spend forecast from $712 billion to $691 billion. China, the world’s second largest ad market after the US, accounts for most of the reduction as eMarketer adjusted its total media ad spend in China from $121 billion to $113 billion. 

What We’re Reading–March 16th

We’ve searched for the most pressing marketing news so you don’t have to. Here’s what’s happening so far the week of March 16.

Gartner: CMOs Must Shift Strategies Amid Coronavirus Threat
Marketing Dive

CMOs need to prepare for disruptions and tread carefully.

Why it matters: Uncertain times call for proactive measures and agile adaptations.

How Brands Are Adapting To The Expectations Of An Increasingly Vegan Generation

With 30 percent of Gen-Zers reporting an intention to be on meat-free diets by 2021, brands need to adapt their messaging due to consumer expectations.

Why it matters: Understanding Gen-Z’s unique orientation toward veganism will show that it’s not a 1:1 with the attitudes of Millennials.

How Bad Times Bring Out The Best In People
Harvard Business Review

In your experience, are you and your coworkers bonding and banding together over the current crisis?

Why it matters: Tough times make it harder to distinguish the difference between our individual needs and those of society. And that can be a good thing.

Coronavirus And The Marketing Industry: What Happens Next?
The Drum

It’s the question everyone is asking: What happens next for the industry?

Why it matters: The widespread impact of coronavirus cannot be overstated. It’s imperative to understand the blow to traditional marketing and its relation to a significant increase in digital ad spend.

How To Design An Effective Schedule During Stressful Times
Fast Company

How to design an effective schedule during the abnormalities we’re currently experiencing (that means recharge time, too).

Why it matters: Even though the disruption of normal activities is trying and its length is uncertain, keeping your environment as similar as possible and adopting a schedule that matches your typical day can go a long way to making it more tolerable and effective.

Olympics Unlikely This Year, Former Team USA Official Says

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are looking less and less likely, at least according to one source.

Why it matters: Advertisers and sponsors are likely to take a drubbing if the 2020 Olympics are called off: You can recoup some things, but lost impressions—especially of this magnitude—are irrecoverable.

What Can Brands Do If the Coronavirus Crisis Drags On for Months?

Now might be the optimal time to pursue cause marketing initiatives as we collectively ascend the upward slope of the coronavirus crisis in both time and scale.

Why it matters: Your back-up plans need back-up plans; strategize for the long-term and multiple “worst case scenarios” with the approaches outlined here.

General Mills Boosts Marketing Spending, Pushes For Appropriate Message During COVID-19
Ad Age

Maintaining a sense of normalcy and avoiding outright reference to “stocking up” are a big part of General Mills’ strategy in this current climate.

Why it matters: General Mills is experiencing something that cereal and canned food brands have crises from the past: a boost as people stock up on dry goods and non-perishables and a need to adjudicate over what’s appropriate messaging given the delicate situation.

Preparing Your Marketing Plans For The Coronavirus Downturn
The Drum

The protocol hasn’t changed much: Take a long-term approach to the current crisis by not immediately looking for short-term cuts to marketing. Do this while retaining your current customers while acquiring new ones and you’ve already started your preparations.

Why it matters: Step #1: Don’t cut the budget. “Maintaining visibility in your market is essential for long term profitability and continued investment.” It’s common to subject the marketing budget to cuts first, but that would be a mistake right now.

Keeping Vision In Focus When The CMO Goes

A problem/solution oriented approach filling the vacuum left by outgoing CMOs: Assign a leader, force collaboration and codify processes, as a start.

Why it matters: More and more organizations are recontextualizing marketing roles, which unfortunately for the CMO means either extinction or adaptation. For the teams that remain, identifying gaps should be a primary concern.

Entertainment Brands Chart Their Next Steps After Canceled SXSW

Entertainment brands are assembling the wreckage after the cancelation of SXSW.

Why it matters: What do you do when the worst case scenario is the scenario?

Which COVID-19-Related Consumer Behavior Shifts Are Here To Stay?

Separating the ephemeral features of the coronavirus crisis from those with lasting impact on consumer behavior.

Why it matters: This too shall pass, but some things may never return t “normal.”

Cannes Lions Officially Postpones Festival Of Creativity As COVID-19 Crisis Worsens

It was inevitable.

Why it matters: The windfall for marketers at events like Cannes Lions cannot be understated. So, what’s next?

What’s Trending: Experts Decode Generation Z
Modern Retail

“Seven Gen Z marketers and entrepreneurs share their insights from the frontlines.”

Why it matters: Widen your analysis of Gen Z’s habits. What was initially thought as indicating a deficit of attention could actually be a product of Gen Z’s media fluency and swift detection—and distaste for—the disinguine.

3 Strategies For Strengthening Brands Amid Coronavirus Uncertainty
Marketing Dive

How to strategically approach this crisis by adapting to changes in consumer behavior that could make your brand stronger.

Why it matters: Adversity is a chance to galvanize. “The best brands are defining themselves with the mission statement and working from that standpoint and recognizing that they can grow share during this period of time.”

What Marketers Can Do Right Now in the Age of Coronavirus: A Letter From Ann Handley

Ann Handley shares her take on what marketers can do right now to confront the coronavirus crisis head-on.

Why it matters: In the face of monumental crises, it’s important to take stock of what actions are needed immediately as well as in the long-term.

Majority Of Marketers Delaying Campaigns As Coronavirus Fears Escalate
Marketing Week

“More than half of marketers (55 percent) are delaying campaigns or have put them under review as fears escalate over the global coronavirus outbreak.”

Why it matters: The impact of coronavirus on advertising and marketing has been profound and necessitates that every marketer look to their planned campaigns to figure out the right path forward.

Facebook’s Sandberg: No One Knows How Much Impact Coronavirus Will Have On Marketing Industry

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg: “This is not going to business as usual, and the marketing industry is certainly going to see a real impact. I don’t think anyone knows how big. So we’re going to watch and look.”

Why it matters: As we examine the extent of the pandemic’s reach, it’s important to look to industry leaders for their perspective on its impact on advertising.

Marketing Events In The Time Of Coronavirus
The Drum

What event organizers, speakers and sponsors need to do in light of the global coronavirus pandemic, from refund recommendations to how to hold virtual events.

Why it matters: Events are essential and the roles involved are numerous, so we need real solutions to limit the negative global impact of coronavirus on the industry.

‘We’re Thinking Like A TV Production’: SAP’s CMO On Rewriting Strategy In A Pandemic
The Drum

SAP’s marketing strategy for the entire year has been scrapped. CMO Alicia Tillman shares what motivated and informed these adjustments and how thinking like a TV production has helped.

Why it matters: A reminder that none of us are now working in a traditional business environment.

DTC Leads the Charge Of Retailers Closing Shops To Slow Spread Of Coronavirus

How direct-to-consumer brands are leading the movement to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Naturally, DTC brands have a thing or two to offer consumers in times of social distancing and retail lockdowns. But not every retailer is putting public health over short-term business goals.

Coronavirus Sparks Huge Jump In Social Media Use, Study Finds
Campaign US

A new study confirms that people are connecting online as social distancing practices go into effect around the country.

Why it matters: Brands can maintain a digital connection as consumers stay indoors due to the spread of coronavirus.

A Proven Battle Plan For CMO’s To Combat This Global Crisis

It’s past time for a battle plan to combat the current global crisis.

Why it matters: We’re confronting a new reality in the workplace and the answer to what lies tomorrow isn’t always clear. Ambiguity is something every CMO can grapple with, however, as marketing leaders’ work environments are always profoundly affected in times of crisis.

Bing’s Coronavirus Live Map Tracks Recoveries, Along With New Cases And Deaths
Fast Company

You can find a quick link to Bing’s tracker here.

Why it matters: Keep a tab open and stay informed about the spread of coronavirus and how it might impact your work.

Influence Through Endorsement: The Power Of Brand Ambassadors
The Drum

Something non-coronavirus related, because if you’ve taken anything from the first article in today’s reading list, the crisis will end.

Why it matters: This Q&A between with Jemma Banks, WW’s (fka: Weight Watchers) marketing director and Mark Stringer, CEO and founder of PrettyGreen, WW’s UK PR agency, covers successful influencer campaign and has insightful words of caution for brands extending their influence through ambassadors.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly reading list is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 20. Have a tip? We’re looking for must-read articles related to trends and insights in marketing and media. Let us know at

Smart Energy GB Hires Former Channel 4 CMO

This week in marketing leadership moves, Smart Energy GB hires former Channel 4 CMO Dan Brooke as CEO, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s TB12 hires Tara McRae as the brand’s first CMO and Leviton hires Randy Mortensen to serve as its new senior vice president of global distribution sales and marketing.

Smart Energy GB Appoints Former Channel 4 CMO As CEO

Campaign reports that former Channel 4 CMO Dan Brooke has been hired by Smart Energy GB to replace outgoing chief executive Sacha Deshmukh, who is leaving to become chief executive of Unicef UK. Smart Energy’s director of finance and operations, Alistair Gibbons, will act as interim chief executive between now and early May.

Brooke, who has been running a brand consultancy since he left Channel 4, was replaced by BT’s Zaid Al-Qassab.

TB12 Hires Tara McRae As Chief Marketing Officer

Tara McRae joins TB12, Tom Brady and Alex Guerrero’s performance lifestyle brand, in the newly created role of chief marketing officer. McRae joins TB12 from Clarks where she served as CMO. Prior to that, she served as SVP of brand and marketing at PUMA.

Leviton Hires Replacement SVP Of Global Distribution Sales And Marketing

Randy Mortensen joins Leviton as their new SVP of global distribution, sales and marketing. He will take on the responsibilities of outgoing SVP Bill Marshall, who is retiring on December 31st, according to AIthority.

Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment is updated until Friday, March 20. Have a new hire tip? We’re looking for senior executive role changes in marketing and media. Let us know at

Job Vacancies 

VP Of Marketing OperationsCalifia FarmsLos Angeles, CA
Head Of Media, Digital Marketing And CommunityCalibraMenlo Park, CA
SVP, Integrated MarketingZillow GroupPasadena, CA
Head Of MarketingAspyr Media, Inc.  Austin, TX
Chief Marketing OfficerNPRWashington D.C.

Make sure to check out select job vacancies on our Careers page.