Former Red Lobster Marketer Moves to Brown-Forman

ATLANTA Brown-Forman Beverages has named Mark McCallum chief marketing officer for its spirits brands, the company said.

He succeeds Paul Varga, who becomes chief executive officer August 1. McCallum takes up the CMO post three days later.

The Louisville, Ky.-based Brown-Forman spent $95 million on ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.

In his new role, McCallum will oversee marketing and advertising activities for all of Brown-Forman’s approximately 30 spirits brands, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia, Canadian Mist, Early Times, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Glenmorangie, Pepe Lopez, Don Eduardo, Tuaca, Amarula, and Appleton.

Havas’ Arnold in St. Louis works on the client’s Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort brands. Interpublic Group’s Carmichael Lynch and independents PriceWeber and The Creative Alliance are also on the creative roster. IPG’s Universal-McCann handles media chores.

McCallum will also be responsible for the company’s interactive marketing activities and global marketing services for spirits brands.

“Mark has more than 20 years of business experience in both domestic and international markets, and he will be a great asset to our team as we continue to develop a strong brand-building culture,” said Varga in a statement.

McCallum’s resume includes stints at Darden Restaurants, where he was executive vice president of marketing for Red Lobster. He left Darden in March.

Red Lobster spent $75 million on ads last year, per TNS/CMR, working principally with Havas’ Euro RSCG Tatham Partners, Chicago. Darden executive Jane Melvin has filled McCallum’s post on an interim basis.

He was also president, North America, and president, Grocery Division, for Vlasic Foods International, Inc. Before that, he worked for Campbell Soup for five years, serving as general manager in the company’s Australia/New Zealand division; managing director of Campbell Soup Asia; and vice president of marketing, Prepared Foods.