Adweek is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Brand Genius Awards, the marketing industry’s consummate honor—now celebrating its 25th anniversary—saluting the men and women behind the most creative, ambitious and successful brand building efforts in 10 categories. Our 2014 honorees will be feted at a gala awards dinner at the Cipriani Downtown on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 30. For more information or to purchase tickets to the event, please visit www.adweekbrandgenius.com.
Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe and the author of three best-selling books. Her memoir All Things At Once became a New York Times best seller in January 2010. Her second book, Knowing Your Value, which examines the role of women in the workplace, reached Number 1 on the New York Times best sellers list for business books in Spring 2011. Her most recent book, Obsessed: America's Food Addiction and My Own, debuted on the best-sellers list in Spring 2013. Brzezinski also writes Getting What You Want for Cosmopolitan, a monthly column about career confidence and empowerment.
Prior to joining MSNBC in January 2007, Brzezinski was an anchor of the CBS Evening News Weekend Edition and a CBS News correspondent who frequently contributed to CBS Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. She reported live from Lower Manhattan for CBS News during the September 11, 2001 attacks.
A native of New York City, Brzezinski is the daughter of Foreign Policy Expert and Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. She is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations and a Williams College alum. Brzezinski lives in New York with her husband and two daughters.
Paul Crandell is the VP of Marketing for GoPro where he has built and led a team of incredibly talented marketing professionals to help create one of the most powerful brands in the world. He specializes in a myriad of marketing sectors that include brand marketing, advertising, media production, lifestyle marketing, online marketing, and sports marketing. Previously, Paul worked as the Director of Sports Marketing for Red Bull and worked closely with the Austrian headquarter team to build the brand in the US, where they took the company from $5 million to $2 billion in nine years. He also helped build the brand for ICON Aircraft, one of the most popular new aircrafts coming to the market, where he was the Vice President of Marketing. Although he may be a brand guru, he also enjoys living an active lifestyle and participating in action sports. In his early days, Paul sold artwork out of his car for 3 years so he could ski and mountain bike around the country. In between mountain biking and skiing, Paul produced action and adventure sports events for TV. Paul Crandell's marketing leadership has lead GoPro to produce some of the best short-form content which inspires others to self-capture immersive and engaging footage.
Mark Crumpacker was named Chipotle's first Chief Marketing Officer in January 2009. He oversees all of the company's marketing functions including advertising, design,events, public relations, social media, and research. In 2013, Mr. Crumpacker was also named Chipotle's Chief Development Officer and now leads the company's real estate, design, construction, and facilities functions worldwide. In addition to his roles as CMO and CDO, Mr. Crumpacker serves as President of the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a charitable foundation established by Chipotle in 2011 as a way of promoting a more sustainable, healthful and equitable food future. Mr. Crumpacker also serves on the Board of Directors of the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation.
Prior to joining Chipotle, he was the founder, CEO and Creative Director at Sequence, a San Francisco-based branding and interactive agency. Prior to Sequence, Mark served as the CEO and Executive Creative director at Studio Archetype in San Francisco until its sale to Sapient in 1997.
Mr. Crumpacker attended the University of Colorado and received his B.F.A. from the Art College of Design in Pasadena.
Michelle N. Fernandez is the Director of ITCG Camera & Video Marketing for Canon U.S.A., Inc. responsible for strategic development and marketing strategy for the EOS, PowerShot and VIXIA consumer imaging brands. Over the years, Michelle has helped position Canon as the imaging industry leader through partnerships with the NFL, Maria Sharapova and most recently, the development of the award-winning, Project Imagin8ion, the first user-generated photo contest in history to inspire a Hollywood film. The partnership with Ron Howard and the film community evolved with the second iteration, Project Imaginat10n, an entire film festival proving "we're all creative."
Driving bold initiatives benefiting from integrated campaigns, Michelle has made her mark to encourage consumers to "Bring It," the latest campaign with Grey NY to position the brand as a driver of storytelling. From B to C to B to B, Michelle has also amplified relationships with key retail partners (Best Buy, Amazon) that drive engagement and sales.
She holds a B.A. in Economics from Binghamton University, State University of New York and resides on Long Island with her husband, Sean and two children, Jackson and Ella.
The Pillsbury Doughboy, The Jolly Green Giant, and BuzzBee are just a few of the interesting characters that Camille Gibson has interacted with during her career at General Mills.
Gibson, who joined General Mills as a marketing assistant in 1983, is currently the vice president of marketing, business unit director for Cheerios, Wheaties, Fiber One and Total cereal brands. She is responsible for the growth and profitability of the business unit including vision and strategy, marketing and new product innovation.
During her career, Gibson has headed up several businesses including, Vice President of Pillsbury Refrigerated Baked Goods, Green Giant Vegetables, Yoplait, Nature Valley and Cheerios.
One of 10 children, Gibson was born in London, England and has also lived in Vancouver and Columbus, Ohio. She earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology and a MBA from The Ohio State University and was the first woman elected to become a Distinguished Alumni of the Fisher College of Business. In 2014, Gibson was named one of the “100 Most Creative People In Business” by Fast Company.
Currently, Gibson lives in Minneapolis with her husband and she has two adult children. In her free time, she takes International and outdoor adventure vacations and enjoys staying current on pop culture and music.
Trudy Hardy is appointed Vice President, Marketing of BMW of North America LLC effective September 15, 2013. In this position she is responsible for all marketing and product planning and strategy for the BMW brand in the US.
Most recently Hardy was head of Marketing Communications and Consumer Events for the BMW brand in the US, a position she held since 2010. In this role she directed the strategic development of national and regional advertising, experiential marketing, digital marketing and social media.
Hardy joined the BMW Group in 2001 as MINI USA Brand Communications Manager before moving to Aftersales Marketing in 2003. In 2005 Hardy returned MINI USA where she was promoted to Department Head, MINI Marketing. In this position she directed all brand strategy, positioning, communication, research and events. Prior to joining the BMW Group, Hardy began her automotive career with Jaguar Cars in the United States. There she held several positions within the marketing group, from advertising production to brand management.
Hardy earned her bachelor's degree in marketing from Ramapo College and is an active member of the Regional Board of Governors for the college and is a member of the alumni advisory board for the Anisfield School of Business.
Matt Jauchius is Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer for Nationwide. He is responsible for brand marketing, advertising, digital marketing, sports marketing, multicultural marketing, cause marketing, social media, media planning and buying, research and analytics, customer advocacy, public relations and communications for all Nationwide companies.
Most recently, Matt served as Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer for Nationwide, where he was responsible for the development and integration of Nationwide's strategic plans and initiatives across all brands, channels, and companies. He joined Nationwide in 2006.
Matt previously served as Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company. At McKinsey, he was responsible for delivering solutions for CEO and senior management agenda issues, mainly in the financial and industrial sectors. His areas of focus included strategy and growth, marketing and sales, company turnarounds, and operational cost improvements. Prior to McKinsey, Matt was in risk management at Bank One and an auditor at Ernst & Young.
Matt currently serves as Chairman of the Board of the Champions for the Community, the nonprofit governing body of the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship, a Web.com PGA Tour event. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Ad Council and of Core Molding Technologies (NYSE: CMT), where he is also on the Audit Committee.
Matt holds an MBA from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's of business administration from The Ohio State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) in the state of Ohio.
Quinn joined HEINEKEN USA in August 2013 as the Brand Director on Newcastle Brown Ale where he has the opportunity to join his two passions together; brand building and a great pint of brew. Prior to HEINEKEN USA, Quinn worked at PepsiCo and General Mills in Brand Management and Shopper Marketing leadership functions. Quinn spent several years in the advertising industry prior to making the move to the client side.
Quinn received his BA from Gettysburg College in Political Science and Spanish and his MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business in Marketing and Strategy.
David Melançon was named Benjamin Moore & Co.'s Chief Marketing Officer in 2012 and led all facets of brand-building for the iconic paint company, including product management, color innovation, marketing, retail, training & education, strategic alliances and corporate communications. After leading a successful transformation and reorganization of the paint leader's brand and marketing efforts, Melançon recently announced his departure from Benjamin Moore.
Before joining Benjamin Moore, Melançon was the founder and CEO of The Ito Partnership, a strategy and development firm based in NYC. The firm's clients included a diverse cross-section of global and U.S. businesses, including NBCSports, Sony Music Entertainment, HyundaiCard, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Morgans Hotel Group and Kaiser Permanente.
Before launching Ito, David was President of IPG's FutureBrand unit in North America, leading a four-office, 200-person operation as well as leading the agency's relationships with global clients including Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Intel and Unilever.
Melançon's career includes time spent as both brand marketer and consultant. As head of communications for Visa, he led the card giant's global communications efforts in launching new technology products such as online payments and stored value cards. He was part of the card company's first digital taskforce and was an integral part of launching the company's digital product portfolio in global markets.
A proven entrepreneur, David was on the digital media frontier as the founding chief marketing officer of the pioneering eBook company, netLibrary. There he partnered with retailers and publishers in launching and marketing eBook efforts in markets around the world. With funding from some of the largest venture funds in the U.S., netLibrary was successful at seeding a market that includes both hardware and software players, including Amazon, Google and Sony.
Melançon began his career in the US Navy, where he served as a journalist and public affairs officer. His far-flung postings included time spent on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, writing for Pacific Stars & Stripes in Tokyo, on the public affairs staff of the Commander of Naval Forces Japan, and working for the National Science Foundation in Antarctica and New Zealand.
Melançon is a featured speaker at industry conferences globally, a frequent contributor and commenter in publications and articles, and has served on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Make It Right, the foundation begun by Brad Pitt to address the housing needs of post-Katrina New Orleans.
Melançon completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland and graduate studies at both Keio University in Tokyo and the University of Oklahoma.
Shane Smith is the founder and CEO of VICE, a global youth media brand. Smith is a critically acclaimed journalist and one of the Internet's most respected visionaries. Under Smith's guidance, VICE, initially launched in 1994 as a punk magazine, has expanded and diversified to become the world's leading youth media company; operating an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house and a feature film division. An expert on global youth culture and industry innovator, Smith has been described by the New York Times as "a voice of a generation of too-cool DJs and artists who wear rolled selvedge jeans and chunky glasses…[and] a conduit for corporate America to reach that elusive audience."In 2007, Smith partnered with renowned film director Spike Jonze to launch VICE's digital video production division, which today produces over 60 award-winning original series dedicated to news, sports, fashion, music, technology, and the arts.
In 2001, the UFC was on the verge of bankruptcy, wasn't allowed on pay-per-view, and either unregulated or banned by most states in the US. At that point, Dana White was a 31-year-old lifelong boxing fan and manager. He had his foot in the door of the mixed martial arts world, working with now-UFC legends Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. After picking up and leaving his gym business in Boston to return to Las Vegas where he grew up, the native New Englander convinced childhood friends and casino moguls Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to purchase three letters: U. F. C.
With the unique ability to see potential where others do not, White, one of the best business minds of his time, has transformed those three letters to now stand for one of the premier sports organizations in the world. Today, the UFC holds 50 live events per year globally and produces more than a dozen television shows, broadcast in 28 different languages in 145 countries. Furthermore, White went from sleeping outside television and radio stations in hopes of locking in distribution deals and promotional airtime to signing multi-year deals for hundreds of millions of dollars with the biggest broadcasters in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and North America. There is no better example of UFC's arrival as a mainstream sport than its distribution deal in the US; a 7-year deal with Fox Sports that includes thousands of hours of programming on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2 as well as live events on the FOX broadcast network.
In a sports industry built on history and tradition, change can be slow to occur. White has taken the industry and broken the mold. He's changed the way people look not only at MMA, but at professional sports as a whole.
In December 2012 White revolutionized the professional sports landscape when introduced the women's bantamweight division, reversing his previously-held position on women fighting in the UFC. He didn't create the WUFC, he instead introduced the first women's champion, Ronda Rousey, to the world as the headliner and the main event for an upcoming pay-per-view event. Continuing to push the envelope for women in the sport, the UFC's reality television show, The Ultimate Fighter, has been coached by women, and this fall will see the cast of 16 women competing for the first women's 115-pound title as the second women's division joins the UFC ranks.
Never afraid to speak his mind, the UFC President is widely recognized for his openness and accessibility. It should come as no surprise that he is one of the most popular sports personalities on social media platforms with almost three million on Twitter alone. White doesn't use social media solely to promote fights; instead he uses it to remain closely connected with fans to continue providing them the best experience possible.
Amongst his many accolades, Sports Business Journal and Bloomberg Businessweek both named White as one of the most influential people in sports. While much of his life is spent on growing the brand and big picture strategy, he still makes it a point to know each of his 350 employees, regularly walking the floors of the UFC's Las Vegas headquarters and stopping at cubicles to talk to employees. His accessibility doesn't stop at the doors to the office; the same courtesy is extended to fans that spend hours lined up at arena entrances and press conference venues in the hopes of getting a photo or autograph.
Passion isn't something than can be taught in a classroom or bought in a store. It's an innate trait possessed by few. White overflows with passion for his sport and his company, and it is that passion that has led to him becoming a trailblazer and revolutionary in today's professional sports landscape.
White is a man who shatters the stereotype of a typical executive. He's the proverbial “everyman,” who just happens to preside over one of the most powerful sports organizations in the world. His wardrobe consists of jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. He can regularly be found sitting front row at a skateboarding competition with his sons, or at his daughter's dance recitals. He has the world at his fingertips, but his children remain the center of his world.
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