What Marketers Can Learn From Balenciaga’s Wild Q4

From dropping YE to dropping a $25 million lawsuit against North Six, Balenciaga’s marketing saga has some important lessons for brand marketers.

Lesson One: Influencers’ Power Goes Both Ways

When Balenciaga ended its collaboration with Kanye West (now known as Ye), it was the first company to do so after the musician’s controversial comments launched a firestorm of controversy. Their previous work together—which included the rapper opening the brand’s Summer 2023 show—had placed Ye at the core of the brand’s new marketing ethos, which has highlighted diverse and avant-garde artists such as Ikeuchi Hiroto and attempted to appeal to younger demographics with a 3D Fortnite digital billboard collaboration. Gen Z is a core demographic for Balenciaga, with luxury consignment platform TheRealReal reporting that the brand showing the greatest increase in demand among shoppers was Balenciaga, with a 41 percent gain. 

Despite inflation, luxury brand sales—including Balenciaga’s—have been surging online and in flagship stores, and Gen Z shoppers are predicted to drive luxury goods sales growth from now until 2035. That means a misstep with an influencer can do more than compromise brand values; it can alienate a key demographic likely to be critical to long-term growth. In that sense, influencers have enormous power over the brands they represent. Consumers assume that marketers complete due diligence before establishing a relationship with a celebrity. That can cost brands audience loyalty, especially with Gen Z, 68 percent of whom believe celebrities should face the consequences for harmful statements or actions.

Lesson Two: Brand Affinity Only Lasts Until Your Next Tormented Teddy

“I want to personally reiterate my sincere apologies for the offence [sic] caused and take my responsibility,” stated Balenciaga CEO and president Cédric Charbit in a statement on Instagram. “At Balenciaga, we stand together for children’s safety and do not tolerate any kind of violence and hatred message.”

That message from Charbit regarding Balenciaga’s controversial campaign featuring, among other things, a sad-faced toddler displayed on a bed next to Balenciaga accessories and a dollar store shopping bag, came after the company dropped its lawsuit against the agency that developed the campaign. The campaign’s furor was not simply directed at the content of the images but also at the fact that it skated very close to real issues of vulnerable people, including children, who are regularly bought and sold online using social media, per the BBC.

After initially announcing plans to investigate the incident and sue the creative agency attached, the brand issued a statement on Instagram detailing its plans to review “[each] concept from ideation to final assets.”

Lesson 3: Build Back Smarter—Not Just Better

While Olivia Pope on ABC’s Scandal used a mix of black hat and white hat tactics to repair individuals’ PR disasters, brands can’t really take a shortcut to brand reputation redemption. Companies that earn hundreds of millions per year don’t seem credible when they shift blame to forces (or agencies) beyond their control. Successful brand marketers know that the brand will be held responsible for all of it—from concept to execution—even if dozens of people (or only one) take a look at the final product. But saying sorry and promising to be better is not enough. Consumers want to know this was a lesson, not a fluke. That means presenting a pathway to change and a map showing how the snafu happened and why it won’t happen again. Change means structure, steps, and safeguards—something Balenciaga outlines in their post. It won’t help readers unsee those scared preschoolers, but it’s a start.

YouGov’s 2022 Best Brands Report Shows Notable Absences From Top 10

Amazon and Nike are two of the biggest absences on YouGov’s annual Best Brands list, derived from a survey of thousands of consumers.

Samsung focuses on user experience and rises in rank; Amazon and Nike exit list

Samsung, which also ranks in the top 5 on Interbrand’s Best Global Brands List, is now number one on YouGov’s latest brand value report. According to the company, the brand invested in making its products more amenable to connected experiences through partnerships with Google and Microsoft, providing consumers with new gaming experiences, and ensuring stable supplies for next-generation applications to avoid supply chain delays that impact customer experience. 

The brands on YouGov’s annual Best Brands list are ranked based on YouGov BrandIndex’s Index score, which the company states is “a measure of overall brand health calculated by taking the average of Impression, Quality, Value, Satisfaction, Recommend and Reputation.” The Index Rankings chart shows the brands with the highest average Index scores between September 28, 2021, and September 27, 2022. 

Last year, the top five were dominated by digital brands: Google, Samsung, Netflix, YouTube, and WhatsApp comprised the top five. That reflected different times—tech, streaming, and social media brands had not yet begun the intermittent periods of volatility and dramatic slide in stock market values when the 2021 survey was completed in September of that year. Those stock market values have an explicit connection to how consumers interact and assess their user experience with digital brands, as well as how readily they are signing up for (or abandoning) subscriptions.

YouGov’s top 10 brands in 2021:

Source: YouGov – ‘Google, Samsung And Netflix Top YouGov’s Global Best Brands Rankings 2021’

Brands fighting challenges on all fronts, while customers look for deals and the right overall experience

By late October 2022, a Q3 drop in big tech share values reflected warnings from tech giants, including Amazon about consumers’ hesitant spending. But YouGov’s metrics measure consumer satisfaction—not just general sentiments around a brand. Recently, Amazon’s customer satisfaction hit an all-time low, with the company’s consumer experience ratings lagging behind Nordstrom and Costco in one major survey by The American Customer Service Index. In YouGov’s latest Best Brand survey, Amazon is absent. 

Source: YouGov’s ‘Global Best Brand Rankings 2022’

Another standout absence is Nike. While the company posted an increase in sales in Q3, earlier global supply chain issues have impacted Nike, which boasts 95 percent brand awareness and 90 percent brand loyalty, per Statista. Slow shipping times impact consumers’ user experiences, and even when it isn’t a brand’s purview, customers can associate those failures with the brand’s value. Per a March press statement, Nike revealed that it has overcome previous supply chain issues related to the closure of half of its factories in Vietnam and was able to produce at pre-closure capacity. While amping up production to meet customer demand may have helped alleviate one end of the supply-chain issue, transit times for retail goods have still been erratic in the US in 2022—and this can impact consumer satisfaction and consumers’ patience with retailers.  

For example, a recent survey revealed that 65 percent of shoppers polled stated they will abandon shopping with a retailer altogether after two or three late deliveries. Another 81 percent stated that if a retailer sends an incorrect order two or three times, they will also abandon shopping with that retailer altogether.

Brand loyalty aside, in times of economic uncertainty, consumers tend to reevaluate their purchasing habits and focus on affordability, value, and user experience. All three elements are important to shoppers as their lifestyle needs change and they are faced with a range of shopping alternatives, such as resellers offering the same or lookalike brands with faster shipping. This may make it harder for legacy brands to maintain customer loyalty when external issues—like shipping delays—tamper with user experience.

Download the entire report here.

FIFA And Friends? How Marketers Can Navigate Controversy And Brand Risk

Some of the world’s most iconic brands are also the most openly supportive of LGBTQ equality. However, some brands’ recent sponsorship of the 2022 World Cup held in Qatar has put the authenticity of their commitment into doubt, adding an extra burden to marketers seeking to promote their brands as the real thing.

Friends of FIFA? How Qatar changed the game for marketers

You wouldn’t guess it from the current controversy, but Qatar was chosen as the site of the 2022 World Cup back in 2010, competing against Japan, Australia, and The United States of America. Back then, the US State Department report about Qatar stated that while it was not a democracy, it didn’t see evidence of rampant torture or prisoner maltreatment – with the asterisk that citizens were likely to be “hesitant” to make complaints. The US has an embassy in Qatar and the nation has been a regional strategic ally of the US for decades, so brands snapping up sponsorships for the 2022 World Cup back in the day should not be surprising. In the US, the Defense of Marriage Act—which allowed same-gender marriages to be outlawed by states—would not meet a successful challenge in the courts until 2011, so brands are unlikely to have been thinking about Qatar’s LGBTQ rights status as an element of brand risk. Hyundai jumped in as an official sponsor through FIFA in 2010.

Back then, Hyundai stated in a press release:

“Since our first association with FIFA in 1999, our commitment and support for FIFA has been unrivaled,” said Mong-Koo Chung, Chairman and CEO of the Hyundai Motor Group. “FIFA has set a benchmark for us, pushing our brand value and exposure to the highest levels. We are confident that this renewal will further enhance our business values and corporate vision.”

Today, ESG is a key component of brand risk assessment and social media’s immediacy means that audiences in the millions have access to reports about human rights and other issues in Qatar. That means that being a friend to FIFA via sponsorship can comingle brand reputations with regions or nations that have policies that contradict brand values. Despite the State Department’s ongoing partnership with Qatar—the country even sits on the UN Human Rights Council—the country outlaws premarital sex, adultery, and same-sex intercourse and has a range of punishments ranging from flogging to years of imprisonment to death by stoning, according to Human Rights Watch.

That has led to some media analysts questioning just how brand marketers can navigate a landscape that demands authenticity in its social commitments but practicality when it comes to audience reach (the last World Cup Final was watched by 1.12 billion people) and return on investment for sponsor dollars. In “The Money Behind The Most Expensive World Cup in History”, Forbes’ Matt Craig details just how much cash is on the line:

$277 million, the amount David Beckham was reportedly paid by Qatar to serve as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup, delivered in installments over ten years.

$4.7 billion: FIFA’s predicted revenue from the World Cup, encompassing TV broadcast rights account for $2.64 billion and marketing rights $1.35 billion, with ticket sales and hospitality rights adding $500 million.

That places marketers and their agencies right in the middle: forced to somehow navigate the brand risks involved in a done deal while ensuring that brand messaging stays visible.

3 ways brands can recover from co-mingled controversy with a little help from marketers

Not every brand can quickly disconnect from brand partnerships or sponsorships that present ethical concerns. Whether jumping ship or staying the course despite all, here are three tips for reaffirming brand values when circumstances make their expression challenging:

Let the audience do the talking

Audiences who feel passionately about social issues and who connect with brand values can be powerful ambassadors for a business and ideas. Leveraging social media and user-generated content campaigns to empower fans to speak their truths and support brand values can be a meaningful act of support (or resistance).

Make a list and check it twice

Review ESG achievements and make sure that they delivered on their promises before tooting the proverbial horn about commitment to values. When positive change is authentic and sustained, it can speak louder than words—even when temporary alliances are problematic.

Build an acceleration map for good

Aligning with human rights issues during a designated month can be seen as a marketing ploy no different than a holiday-themed store window unless those values are connected to a plan to do good more efficiently and faster than before. Create a clear map as to what your brand will attempt to do to support your values, even if it is a small, local effort.

Volkswagen Names Google’s Nelly Kennedy As New CMO; New Hires At TikTok, Impossible Foods, Big Lots

TikTok and brands including Volkswagen, Impossible Foods and Big Lots highlighted their new chief marketer appointments. Here’s what we’re tracking this week:

Nelly Kennedy Named Next Volkswagen CMO

Nelly Kennedy, Google’s senior global brand marketing director, will become Volkswagen’s new CMO in February 2023. Kennedy, who has more than 22 years of professional experience, worked as executive director of digital at Conde Nast before moving to Google, where she worked for over seven years. “As the new Chief Marketing Officer, Nelly Kennedy, together with her team, will help turn Volkswagen back into a true people’s brand,” Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfer told the outlet.

Kate Jhaveri Appointed Global Marketing Officer At TikTok

Kate Jhaveri, former CMO for the NBA, has been appointed global marketing officer at TikTok. Jhaveri, who has more than 33 years of professional experience, worked previously as CMO and SVP at Twitch before joining the NBA in 2019. Jhaveri will direct brand and consumer marketing as well as platform marketing for the company.

Leslie Sims Named Impossible Foods’ First CMO

Leslie Sims will serve as chief marketing and creative officer for Impossible Foods starting in January 2023. Sims, who has more than 30 years of professional experience, was previously chief creative officer at Deloitte Digital. Sims will direct the company’s efforts to amplify brand awareness and marketing strategy.

Deezer Hires Maria Garrido As CMO 

French audio streamer Deezer has named Maria Garrido as its new CMO. Garrido has more than 35 years of professional experience and previously served as SVP for Vivendi. Garrido will execute marketing and brand strategy for the company globally. “I am honored to join Deezer,” Garrido said in a press statement. “It’s an exciting time to become a part of this tech and entertainment gem, as it steers a course towards transformational growth.”

Big Lots Hires New Marketing Leads

Big Lots has named Margarita Giannantonio as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Giannantonio, who has more than 35 years of professional experience, will direct the brand’s merchandising strategy for all product categories. John Alpaugh, who has more than 35 years of professional experience, has also been appointed senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Alpaugh will manage Big Lot’s brand and marketing strategies as well as strategy executions.

Other recent CMO updates you may have missed:

  • Pizza Express hires Stephen Taylor as CMO
  • Mud\WTR, a coffee alternative brand, has appointed Mike Fox as its first CMO
  • Ruben Desai departs as Dole Sunshine CMO

Trend Set: ESPN Sees Future Sports Programmers In TikTok Creators And More

Ashley Otah, Ayzenberg’s resident trendspotter, outlines a few of the trends from our timelines making the biggest waves this week.

Snapchat x Amazon

Snapchat and Amazon have partnered up to introduce a new type of lens that combines fun with functionality. The “Amazon Fashion” profile in the app will allow Snapchat users to try on thousands of different kinds of glasses digitally. The process is facilitated using Amazon’s try-on display options. There has been no slowing the uptick of spending habits, and augmented reality makes it possible to try on anything from anywhere. The partnership further shows how virtual reality and AR will continue to be implemented in everyday life.


Soccer player Alphonso Davies, who plays for the Canadian national team and Germany’s Bayern Munich, is a rising star on and off the pitch. Davies is set to perform on the big screen at this year’s World Cup, and, although a bright and shining future lies ahead of him, there’s more to his story than meets the eye—and it deserves to be in the spotlight, too.

In a new docuseries from Nike titled “Home,” audiences can follow the stories of those displaced and how they challenge and follow their dreams. Like Davies says in episode two, “Anyone can become a refugee—it’s not something you choose.”


It’s no secret that ESPN is trying to reach younger crowds. Their latest idea? Target the online debaters and Bronny enthusiasts out there by utilizing young content creators. The newly launched ESPN Creator Network aims to provide young and rising content creators an opportunity to be given access and resources to develop their sports programming ideas. And while creators will not be compensated, the program will provide them with travel, tickets, access, equipment and a series of courses. The move showcases that TikTok remains the frontrunner in recruiting and retaining fans.

Marketing Leadership Moves At Twitter, Netflix, Esprit, Chamberlin Coffee, And Fabletics

Marketers are making moves this week with executive fallout at Twitter and a brand new advertising team at Netflix, among other appointments. Here’s what we’re tracking.

Twitter Sees Rolling Departures

Twitter is going through a few changes. Twitter CMO and head of people Leslie Berland, who had been with the company since 2016, has departed her position. Berland is a board member of the Ad Council and previously worked at AMEX for over 10 years, last serving as EVP, global advertising, marketing and digital partnerships. Jean-Philippe Maheu, former Twitter VP of global client solutions, who had been with the company since 2013, has also left his position. Maheu was previously CEO at Bluefin Labs and Publicis Modem.

Netflix Adds New Advertising Team

Led by Netflix President of Worldwide Advertising Jeremi Gorman, a new team will manage Netflix’s marketing strategy starting Nov. 14. Former global head of sports strategy and research at Amazon, Julie DeTraglia, will become VP of ads measurement strategy. Adam Gerber, former executive director for U.S. investment strategy at Group M, will serve as senior director for client development. Julie Green, formerly TikTok’s director of global business solutions, will become senior director for vertical sales. Former director of product marketing for YouTube’s ads marketing division, Nicole Sabatini, will serve as senior director for ad partner solutions. Chris Smutny, former director, revenue operations and strategy at Snap, will become senior director for sales operations.

Esprit Names Ana Andjelic As New Chief Brand Officer

Ana Andjelic has been named chief brand officer at Esprit, where she will lead branding and creative strategy at the company’s New York office. Andjelic previously served as chief brand officer at Banana Republic.

“Ana’s extensive experiences in brand building are extremely valuable in bringing Esprit’s global ambitions to life,” said William Pak, CEO at Esprit in an interview with Inside Retail. “Ana will play an indispensable role in enhancing and strengthening our brand, and in turn accelerating our growth.”

Liz Ahern Appointed CMO At Chamberlin Coffee

Chamberlin Coffee has named Liz Ahern, previously director of brand marketing at Carvana, as chief marketing officer. Ahern will lead brand strategy, omnichannel expansion and campaigns.

“Liz is a highly-experienced, ambitious leader in CPG marketing, and I am beyond excited to have her join the team,” said Chamberlain Coffee CEO Christopher Gallant in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “With her extensive knowledge in experiential and product marketing, I am confident that she will be able to build our team and support our growth.”

Fabletics Hires Ilona Aman As CMO

Ilona Aman, previously chief brand officer at ARIA Exchange, will lead brand marketing, creative strategy, retail, digital, membership and public relations at Fabletics.

“We’re focused on Fabletics’ next phase of growth and bringing our loyal community of VIPs even closer to the brand through unique storytelling, highly-customized retail experiences and products that they can’t get anywhere else,” said Don Ressler, co-founder of Fabletics, in a press statement. “Ilona’s creative and dynamic approach to marketing is undoubtedly the right fit for Fabletics, and we’re thrilled to welcome her to the team.”

What you may have missed:

Trend Set: Gymshark’s Mission, Inside The Gucci Vault

Ashley Otah, Ayzenberg’s resident trendspotter, digs into what’s trending on our timelines this week.


Gym. Sets. Shower. Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. With the launch of its first physical store, an 18,000-square foot space in London, online athleisure and fitness brand Gymshark aims to become the go-to place for the fitness novice and expert looking for clothing, exercising and community. A standout element of the experience: in-store mannequins that reflect real brand ambassadors and highlight body types and varying abilities. 

That, in itself, should not be applauded, however, as inclusivity and accessibility should never be an afterthought. Gymshark’s mission to provide comprehensive content and experiences to people all over the globe continues as they meet fans where they are, as they are.  


Gucci’s newest creative endeavor is Gucci Vault, a collaborative partnership with The Sandbox, a virtual world where players can build, own and sell their gaming experiences and elements. For a short time, players will be able to explore the past, present and future in quests to capture Gucci Vault Boxes, unlocking raffle entries and digital collectibles. In addition to the event, Gucci is launching its first voxel digital collectibles. These unexpected partnerships and drops will continue to grow as the line between industries become more entangled.  

Call of Duty 

Known for massive and creative out-of-home (OOH) ads, Piccadilly Circus is a scene to behold. Most recently, however, Call of Duty took it over with its latest campaign like never before. As OOH makes a massive comeback into our everyday lives, it’s a continued reminder that outdoor advertising is not a medium to be ignored. With OOH expected to expand, this is a continued trend to watch and enjoy. 

Trend Set: Brooklyn Nets Center Community In New Ad With Help From Young Fans

Ashley Otah, Ayzenberg’s resident trendspotter, explores the use of technology in art and for social good in this roundup of what’s trending on our timelines this week.

Brooklyn Nets

Young Brooklynites share what makes their borough so special in a new mini doc commemorating the Nets’ 10th year in Brooklyn. The powerful yet punchy video featuring 10-year-old locals, the team’s first generation of born-and-bred fans, feels more like a love letter to the borough than an ad and is nothing less than an ode to a city of dreams. Home is a lot of things, but most importantly, home is Brooklyn.


Nice guys finish first with Gas, a new app that aims to spread kindness and help teens say nice things about each other in a “superlative-like” way, as individuals are given the opportunity to “gas” each other up anonymously. Although limited to a handful of states, the app is a refreshing use of social media that is making a splash. The desire for interpersonal relationships, especially community, continues as generations navigate life. This time, using apps to fill voids.

Modem x Moncler

Past, present and future intertwine in “The Extraordinary Expedition,” a multisensory journey celebrating Moncler’s legacy developed by Modem Works that transports users into a world like no other. The exhibit features sculptures, immersive sound and narrative design, as well as a series of kinetic installations highlighting defining looks from the luxury fashion house.

Previously at odds, fashion and technology have had a rocky relationship. In recent years, the two industries have been seen more as fellows than rivals, using their knowledge and expertise to craft new a new future for augmented and virtual reality and beyond.

Trend Set: Disney, McDonald’s Lean On Nostalgia To Drive Innovation, Sales

Ashley Otah, Ayzenberg’s resident trendspotter, examines some of the most significant moves made by giants of commerce in this roundup of what’s trending on our timelines this week.


Disney is partnering up with Toronto-based Lighthouse Immersive Studios to launch a live immersive experience built around the entertainment giant’s iconic films. From “Frozen” to “Encanto,” “The Little Mermaid” and more, the exhibit will bring that Disney magic to life. Immersive brand experiences push the boundaries of lived reality, and as consumers move into a more digitally driven society, brands can work to create and deliver more meaningful and memorable experiences. Brands that utilize immersive marketing will not only drive new customer acquisition but also provide a magical experience for their audiences.


Keke Palmer can act, sing, write and direct, and now she has the platform to do it all while in charge. The actress is launching her own digital network that will showcase her multi-faceted talents while spotlighting a new generation of creators. Palmer has become well-known for her range throughout the entertainment industry, so much so that people can’t wait to see what she does next. Her work keeps rolling in, and the next step is to bring others along on the journey. KeyTV is coming to screens near and far and highlights one-stop shops for all things people love are still booming business.


McDonald’s is reimagining its iconic Happy Meals as nostalgic items for adults and bringing back the Halloween Happy Meal favorite. For a limited time, consumers can snag these blast-from-the-past items and enjoy them in real time. This marketing move by the fast food chain intertwines drop culture and nostalgia in a way that appeals to fans and new customers alike. Nostalgia is a powerful tool that has sparked entire industries, and now it’s creating a new space paired with drop culture. If done correctly, the two can be one of the most effective ways to connect emotionally with audiences.

Peloton, The NBA And State Farm See Departures And New Arrivals

Marketers are making moves this week, taking on posts at Peacock, Fossil and Bacardi. We also track the departure of chief marketing officers at Peloton, the NBA, State Farm and Lowe’s.

NBCUniversal Welcomes New Chief Marketing Officer

NBCUniversal’s Peacock named Shannon Willett, Netflix’s former vice president of global marketing strategy and operation, as their new chief marketing officer. Willet, who led a team of 250 at Netflix, managed international creative marketing campaigns for the streaming platform in several positions for seven years. Willet’s new role will involve leading Peacock’s global marketing efforts, including brand management, media planning, marketing operation and subscriber growth.

Forbes’ ‘Most Influential CMO’ Departs Peloton

Veteran marketer Dara Treseder is leaving Peloton on Oct. 4 after serving as the company’s senior vice president for marketing, membership and communications for just under three years. Treseder’s departure follows several high-profile exits at Peloton, including that of co-founder and former CEO John Foley, who left the company’s board in September. Before leading Peloton’s marketing strategy, she was chair of the board of directors at fintech firm Robinhood, as well as the board of directors of the nonprofit Public Health Institute. Treseder, who recently topped Forbe’s list of the most influential CMOs in the world, will join Autodesk on Oct. 14 as their new chief marketing officer.

NBA CMO Kate Jhaveri Ahead Of The New Season

After three years, which included guiding the league’s marketing efforts through the early days of the pandemic, NBA CMO Kate Jhaveri has left her position on the eve of the 2022-23 season. The NBA saw a 33 percent drop in revenue during the 2020/2021 season but has since reached a historic $10 billion in revenue. Jhaveri previously worked at Twitch, where she led marketing, communications, customer support and business intelligence, among other Amazon-owned streaming platforms. In addition, she previously worked at Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft.

Fossil Appoints Lisa Pillette To A Dual Role As SVP and CMO

Fossil Group Inc. has named long-time lead marketer Lisa Pillette as CMO. Pillette, who most recently worked as CMO at Casper Sleep Inc., will direct Fossil’s global marketing strategy while managing innovation, CRM, content and creative campaigns and go-to-market processes. “Lisa has tremendous depth and breadth of marketing experience with iconic brands, an innovative lens on what marketing of the future looks like and a compelling track record of delivering insight-led solutions,” said Holly Briedis, Fossil’s executive vice president and chief digital officer, in a press release.

Lowe’s CMO Marisa Thalberg Departs

Lowes’ Marisa Thalberg has left her position at the company, which she held since February 2020. Thalberg led Lowes’ marketing strategy through the early days of the pandemic and launched several high-profile campaigns. The company, like many other retailers, saw economic uncertainty impact revenues.

Ned Duggan Named Global Chief Marketing Officer And President Of Global Brands

Bacardi recently named Ned Duggan, who has worked with the brand for 17 years, global chief marketing officer and president of global brands. He will replace John Burke, who led the company’s marketing efforts in various leadership positions for 28 years.

Rand Harbert, State Farm CMO, Retires After 12 Years

State Farm CMO Rand Harbert will retire at the end of this year, after 12 years with the company. Harbert led State Farm’s brand repositioning in 2016 and revitalized the popular “Jake from State Farm” campaign. Previously, Cook worked on developing State Farm’s strategy to reach Gen Z and other audiences on emergent platforms such as TikTok, as well as virtual spaces like the metaverse.