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.

Trend Set: SKKY Partners, Apple Event 2022

Ayzenberg’s resident trendspotter Ashley Otah is taking a much-needed break this week. In her stead, Ayzenberg’s Olivia Gutierrez highlights a few of the major trends occupying our timelines.

Apple Event 2022

Far Out. Apple unveiled the latest iPhone 14 and Apple Watch models, as well as their new AirPods and updated Apple Fitness + at a virtual event produced at their headquarters in Cupertino last Friday.

SKKY Partners

Kim Kardashian has created a new private equity firm called SKKY Partners. The firm’s launch was announced on Twitter, calling this new venture the “next generation Consumer & Media private equity firm.” Kim and Jay Sammons are listed as co-founders, and Kris Jenner will serve as a partner at the firm.

Bowie’s NFT

On Sept. 13, David Bowie’s estate will release an NFT collection titled “Bowie on Blockchain.” The NFTs have been created by several artists, and they are being sold on OpenSea, with 100 percent of profits generated going to CARE, a non-profit humanitarian organization.

AI Art-Generated Demons

Meet Loab. When messing around with AI art generators goes creepily wrong, a viral Twitter thread and an urban legend are born.

It’s Corn!

It has the juice. This interview of a 7-year-old became a TikTok viral sensation after The Gregory Brothers remixed Tariq’s corn-loving spiel into a catchy tune. Since its online explosion, Tariq was invited to Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, to be named their state’s Corn-Bassador. He was also granted a scholarship by the state to learn more about agriculture tourism in South Dakota. In the wise words of Tariq, “I can’t imagine a more beautiful thing!”

Trend Set: Week Of August 29th

Ayzenberg’s Ashley Otah looks at three major cultural trends this week and what they mean for brands.


Just brew it. Tables come to life in the Starbucks campaign, “Every Table Has a Story.” As a young creative navigates the working world, the answer “no” persists. Through trials and tribulations, a few things remain constant—dedication and a safe haven to shoot for the stars. Working from home is all a new generation knows, and they want the flexibility to explore other options. However, they are not alone, as others also look to go beyond the four walls of their homes and office spaces. Starbucks creates that space by underscoring how it can fit into anyone’s everyday life through a meaningful medium.  

YouTube Game On

Game over. Gaming is larger than ever, with an estimated 66 percent of Americans, or around 215 million people of all ages and backgrounds, playing video games regularly. YouTube tapped into these statistics by adding a live streaming component and hosting its first-ever “Game On event. The event was livestreamed worldwide and allowed for interactive gameplay. Community, collaboration and interactive content set the stage as a powerful way to connect generations. 

User Behavior

Wordsearch. Consumer behavior is rapidly changing as new platforms and tools emerge. What was once a foolproof way of exploring the internet and its offerings fades as the future nears. According to a Global Retail Path to Purchase study, 37 percent of users will immediately buy a product after discovering it on TikTok. In comparison, 74 percent of U.S. consumers begin their product searches on Amazon. Different platforms are responding accordingly. For example, Instagram recently launched a searchable map and others are launching nearby feeds. As the behaviors change, companies must continue to respond to these new shifts.

Trend Set: Week Of August 22nd

Ayzenberg’s Ashley Otah looks at three major cultural trends this week and what they mean for brands.


Pin it to win it. Shuffles, an invite-only collage-making app by Pinterest, is all the rage. Although not publicly launched, the app has garnered over 211,000 iOS downloads and is making a splash worldwide. According to the app description, users can curate anything from dream bedrooms to festival outfits and everything in between. The personal and positive feel follows the trend and desire for social media to be more than just sharing a wide cast net of content to the world. The mobile-first mood board medium looks to be a successful outlet as the race for apps that center community, creativity and content—without toxicity—continues.

Instacart x Lizzo

Phone eats first. Instacart launches a new brand campaign and in-app experience with the help of Lizzo. The international superstar brings the everyday grocery lists to life in “The World is Your Cart.” With the new launch comes a new feature titled “Carts,” which enables users such as creators, personalities and more to create shoppable and curated content. The mixture creates a personal feel with a pop culture punch that makes the mundane much more manageable. Small insights make big impacts, and in-app experiences can magnify them.

Tiffany & Co. x Riot Games

Go big or go home. Tiffany & Co. has partnered with Riot Games to redesign the League of Legends World Champion Summoner’s Cup. While not new for Tiffany’s, as it has a 160-year-old history of creating symbols of achievement in many sports, the partnership showcases the ever-changing landscape between varying verticals and sectors of all industries. As the esports ecosystem continues to boom, collaborations like these will continue to blossom. Crafting and creating authentic and meaningful experiences, however, will remain essential.