Adweek is pleased to announce the winners of the magazine’s annual Brand Genius Awards, the marketing industry’s highest honor. Now in their 26th year, the awards recognize the talented men and women behind the most inventive, ambitious and successful brand-building efforts in each of 10 categories.
Our 2015 winners will be celebrated at a gala awards dinner at the landmark Gustavino’s in New York on the evening of Oct. 20, 2015. Actor and Saturday Night Live cast member Kenan Thompson will serve as the evening's host. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit: www.adweekbrandgenius.com.
Vice President of Marketing
Jaguar Land Rover North America
A veteran automotive marketer who's held senior titles at Lexus and Nissan, McCullough assumed the post of Jaguar Land Rover's Vice President of Marketing in September of last year, and has since helped Jaguar stage one of the biggest comebacks in the automotive segment.
McCullough's team led the creative around “British Intelligence,” a multiplatform marketing initiative that linked bad-boy Brits with correspondingly bad-ass cars in the form of Jaguar’s new F-Type. Jaguar's marketing crew also steered the brand into its first-ever Super Bowl spot (whose #GoodToBeBad hashtag became the most popular of the game) and also presided over the Tom Hooper-directed spot starring Nicholas Hoult.
Under McCullough's marketing leadership, Jaguar Land Rover is turning in high-performance financials, too. This month, year-to-date U.S. sales were up 15 percent.
Vice President of Marketing
It’s hard to believe that the legendary Danish toy was near bankruptcy 10 years ago. But Lego posted $273 million in profits for the first half of 2015, and it was a clever and multitalented marketing department, led by marketing vp Michael Moynihan, that snapped much of that success story together.
From the “Everything is Awesome” tie-in at the Oscars, to the $500 million-grossing Lego Movie, to a video-content-rich website that’s become a destination all its own, Lego’s marketing is a textbook example of content marketing done right.
Associate Brand Director
Under the leadership of Michèle Baeten, Procter & Gamble’s Always has gone from being a personal-care brand for women to a brand with a mission to empower them.
On the heels of its 2014 partnership with the “Ban Bossy” campaign (the brainchild of Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg), Always’ three-minute Super Bowl spot, “Like a Girl,” became an overnight cultural phenomenon, a movement that’s yielded 23,000 Twitter followers, nearly half a million likes on Facebook and a hashtag (#LikeAGirl) that’s now ubiquitous.
Portfolio Lead, Biscuits North America
When General Mills’ TV spot showing an interracial family won global attention in 2013, it looked like no brand could make a stronger statement about the importance of diversity—until Mondelēz did.
Under the leadership of Gary Osifchin, Honey Maid’s 2014 “This is Wholesome” campaign starred families that weren’t just diverse—including a Latino single dad and a gay-male couple with two kids—they were real-life families.
The TV spot and social-media effort, which has netted the brand over 307,000 likes on Facebook to date, has made Honey Maid the new icon of inclusion.
Chief Marketing Officer
As snack and beverage giant PepsiCo prepared to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Gatorade—the brand that originated the sports-drink category in 1965—it passed the ball to CMO Morgan Flatley.
A nine-year veteran of the brand, Flatley led one of the most successful marketing plays of the year, which included the limited-time return of Citrus Cooler, Michael Jordan’s favorite flavor, and the epic remix of 1992’s “Be Like Mike” tune—“Groove Like Mike,” which scored 12 million views on YouTube.
With a creative assist from TBWA/Chiat/Day, Flatley’s team also aired the “Sweat it to get it” goof spot starring Peyton Manning and Cam Newton, proving that a 50-year-old sports drink is still as young and agile as ever.
Global Chief Marketing Officer
How did tequila go from being a frat-boy fave to having a rightful place in the premium-spirits category? Lee Applbaum had a lot to do with it.
As global CMO for Patrón Spirits, Applbaum and his creative team have shaken up the category with novel activations that helped bump Patrón's sales up 6.6 percent last year.
From “Roca on the Rails,” a chartered train that introduced Roca Patrón to America, to the Patrón Social Club content platform, to the Art of Patrón virtual-distillery tour via Oculus technology, Applbaum has convinced discerning drinkers everywhere that Patrón belongs on their top shelf.
Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice
Fitness is already a $24 billion industry in America, so why does anyone need another gym?
Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice saw a need that existing health clubs were not meeting: an inspirational, mind-and-body approach to a bike-centered workout, all of it conducted in an upscale environment that doesn’t feel like a gym at all.
From humble beginnings in 2006, Cutler and Rice have built SoulCycle into a fitness phenomenon with 47 locations, 60,000 weekly riders, and celeb fans including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Oprah Winfrey.
SoulCycle is now pedaling toward an IPO in the coming months.
Senior Vice President of Marketing
Delta Air Lines
Americans love to hate airlines these days, which surely makes for turbulent flying for any marketer. But under the marketing leadership of Tim Mapes, Delta has risen to new heights, not just in terms of profits ($4.5 billion for fiscal year 2014) but customer satisfaction, too.
Publicly pledging to “reinvent” air travel, Delta upgraded nearly every aspect of the in-flight experience, from serving local craft brews to rolling out Innovation Class, which gave everyday passengers the chance to sit next to a thought leader on the plane. He even rounded up Internet memes like Keyboard Cat to star in a new safety video.
Flying may not be cheaper, but thanks to Mapes, flying Delta is a lot more fun.
Executive Vice President of Marketing
E! and Esquire Network
Since its debut earlier this year, “The Royals,” E!’s spoof drama of the British royal family, has served up scandal on a silver platter. But aside from Elizabeth Hurley’s chillingly decadent performance as the queen, it’s Jen Neal’s marketing blitz that’s responsible for pulling in the series’ 2 million-plus weekly viewers.
Neal’s decadent digital content has included a mock Christmas greeting that had the queen dropping the f-bomb and footage of a naked man rappelling from a Buckingham Palace bedroom—carried by a gag tabloid channel called D-Throned.
By delivering content marketing every bit as edgy as the show it’s promoting, Neal has handed E! a primetime audience growth rate of 29 percent for 2015.
Adrienne R. Lofton
Senior Vice President of Global Brand Marketing
As Under Armour’s SVP of Global Brand Marketing, Adrienne Lofton is responsible for developing and leading brand strategy and category implementation around the world, ensuring authenticity across all business units. Ms. Lofton’s team is specifically responsible for key revenue driving engines within the brand including the Train, Run, Women’s, Youth and Accessories categories.
Prior to her current position Ms. Lofton served as the CMO of the Global Dockers brand at Levi Strauss & Co. and prior to that spent several years at Under Armour as the Senior Director of Women’s and Youth Brand Marketing. Adrienne also spent time in Marketing Planning at Target Corporation in Minneapolis MN, where her primary responsibility centered around managing the Multi-Cultural business focused on the African-American segment as well as cross-category general market campaigns and Iconic Red & White Branding initiatives.
Ms. Lofton has extensive cross industry marketing experience both client and agency side including tenures with General Motors Planworks (a subsidiary of Starcom MediaVest), where she was responsible for building and rolling out the Multicultural media planning strategy for the complete portfolio of General Motors brands; and Gap Inc. in San Francisco CA, where Ms. Lofton began her career as part of the Retail Management Program gaining extensive experiences in both Media Planning and Brand Management working on Gap Brand’s international portfolio including Gap Japan and Europe.
Ms. Lofton was born in Cleveland Ohio and raised in Houston TX, and earned her B.A. from Howard University where she concentrated in Marketing, was initiated into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and was a Division I Scholarship athlete and Captain of the Howard University Volleyball Team.