The National Football League on Tuesday named Cynthia Hogan as svp of public policy and government affairs and appointed four women as advisors on domestic violence. These moves follow the NFL's recent string of abuse-related controversies, which put a spotlight on pro football's attitude toward the well being of women.
Unless commissioner Roger Goodell steps down—he's under a lot of heat—the league's next big hire will be to fill its vacant chief marketing officer position. Given the current public relations nightmare concerning NFL players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, the league has an opportunity to use this moment to educate men about domestic violence while highlighting the growing impact female fans have on the sport. While qualified male marketers should undoubtedly also be considered for the post, below is a shortlist of women we believe would be perfect to lead the charge.
The NFL didn't respond to an inquiry about its marketing chief candidates, but Adweek took a straw poll of industry insiders to help zero in on what candidates should be considered for the CMO gig, which, according to executive recruiters, likely pays between $1 million and $1.5 million annually.
Anne Finucane, global CMO for Bank of America, has spent 40 years in marketing, while recently helping navigate BoA through the financial crisis. Pro football could probably use her crisis-management expertise in the coming weeks. She also serves on the board for the Special Olympics.
Jenny Storms, svp of global sports marketing at PepsiCo, may worth a long look because of her two years at Gatorade and 14 years at Turner Broadcasting. And after the Super Bowl activations her soda brands put on in New York last winter, Storms certainly holds actionable insights on how to mesh marketing with pigskin.
Wendy Clark, Coca-Cola's svp of its Global Sparkling Brand Center, is almost always one of the first names people bring up when listing off brand-side industry stars. And due to roughly nine years at Coke and AT&T combined, she'd be well versed in sports media because of those two companies' investments into the category.
Vicky Free, CMO of BET Networks, has a wealth of marketing experience in the broadcasting sector. And one industry player suggested she'd be able to build on the league's recent growth in female fans.
If the NFL wants an underdog with an unusually good narrative, maybe it should interview Porter Novelli managing director Darlan Monterisi. She served as a Marines captain in Iraq. So yeah, she can probably take a little heat. And Monterisi worked at ad agency Mullen before helping launch Grand Theft Auto VI for Rockstar Games. How interesting is all that?
Richelle Parham, eBay CMO, has forged a formidable career in not only the tech sector but also at Visa and Rapp Collins. "She's amazingly smart and ran Visa's global marketing, which included sports sponsorships (e.g. Olympics)," said Altimeter Group CEO Charlene Li. "So knows something about sports and marketing. She's also African-American, which would say a lot about the NFL."
Lesya Lysyj, president of Weight Watchers North America, has nearly a quarter-century of experience leading marketing for brands like Kraft and Cadbury. But perhaps mostly notably, she was recently CMO for sports-happy Heineken before taking the helm with her current company.
If the league wants a woman who knows the lay of the land, it could bring back Lisa Baird, who served as the NFL's svp of marketing and consumer products from 2005 to 2007. She has since run marketing for the United States Olympics Committee—which is a pretty sweet gig, so who knows if either side would be interested.
Some agency folks would like to see Lauren Crampsie, senior partner, global CMO, Ogilvy & Mather, bring a strong advertiser perspective to pro football. And if her recent tweet means anything, she could be game.
— Lauren (@LCrampsie) September 7, 2014