Marketing’s Most Wanted

By The Drum, Administrator

June 6, 2002 | 18 min read

As World Cup fever engulfs the nation and we wish our 23 football stars all the best The Marketeer is proud to identify the stars of the Northern marketing industry.

After lengthy research amongst the North’s marketing services agencies we can now name the 100 clients adjudged to be playing at the very highest standard; clients who consistently perform at the top of their game and the clients who are more than capable of conjuring up a nifty hat-trick when the chips are down.

To maintain the football theme, which you are no doubt getting extremely tired of, we have split our 100 stars into four leagues, carrying on our World Cup theme, The Finalists, Semi Finalists, Quarter Finalists and Qualifiers.

How did you decide who should go into which league, I hear you ask. Well, after receiving an overwhelming response from advertising, design, PR and media buying agencies over the last six weeks, The Marketeer’s editorial team carefully considered all the nominations in three key criteria:

1. Marketing budget.

2. Desirability as a client.

3. Success of marketing activity during the last twelve months.

The ranking given to each company, and therefore their final league position, is completely subjective and will no doubt meet with some disagreement, but the editor’s decision is final.

The following six pages contain profiles of a selection of the clients nominated.

Ideally we would have liked to profile every client named, however, as is often the case, space was at a premium.

The Finalists

Rozina Ali, 32, media and communications controller, Akzo Nobel. During her time at Akzo Nobel, looking after the company’s £10m marketing budget, Ali has been responsible for steering the Crown brand through a period of realignment and investment and, since being promoted to media and communications controller, she has commissioned the recent TV campaigns for Crown’s brands, including the successful launch of the Virtually Odour Free range. Ali says that the biggest challenge for the marketing industry is to continue to be innovative while bringing added value propositions to consumers.

Dominic Box, 37, marketing director, Cussons UK Ltd. Box charged BDH/TBWA with rejuvenating its Imperial Leather brand and, thankfully for both parties, their campaigns have been a success. “We achieved a step change in consumer response and created a stronger platform for an even bigger and brighter future,” said Box. Prior to handling Cussons’ £15m marketing budget, Box worked at London ad agency Burkitt Weinreich Bryant, before spotting the green grass on the clientside and moving first to Rowntree and then to Nestlé. He moved to Cussons in 1998.

Andrew Harrison, 37, director of marketing, Nestlé Rowntree. Harrison’s CV ranks as “breathtaking”. Over eleven years at P&G (1987–98) he oversaw the ascension of Pampers to the position of the UK’s no.1 nappy brand, and was the marketing manager for Ariel when P&G enjoyed its highest ever “laundry share”. He then moved on to be the UK marketing director for Coca-Cola, at a time when the brand enjoyed double-digit growth (1998–2000) before strolling off to pastures new and his current position as the controller of a £65m marketing budget.

Tim Marsden, marketing director, MyTravel. Marsden’s career has been raised on a diet of blue chips. After six years at BP he moved to Kodak in 1995, where he was responsible for the launch of its Advanced Photo System. Two years later he left to join CWS, before switching to Norweb in 2000. He joined Airtours last year and is currently overseeing the transition of the brand to its new MyTravel identity. He identifies the major challenges for the industry as “proving it is accountable and showing the value it generates” and “really delivering the potential of CRM”.

Colin Middlemiss, 30, head of PR, Time Group. Middlemiss heads up PR for one of the North’s most talked about companies, after gaining experience at Text 100, handling clients such as Nokia, Microsoft, MSN, Playstation and BT Openworld. He believes that one of the biggest challenges facing marketeers is engaging cynical audiences and the dwindling number of passionate communicators in marketing. He also feels there is a lot of “deadwood” in the industry, which is dragging standards down.

Semi Finalists

Andrew Davies, 30, head of e-marketing, First Direct. In his time at First Direct Davies has launched its online proposition, persuaded them to run a viral campaign that included stuffing money “up” a fat cat ( and also launched the UK’s first SMS banking alert service. Davies is still striving for further innovations and creativity to cut through the sheer volume of communications consumers receive, and seems to be relishing the job somewhat more than his previous incarnation as an accountant.

Steve Duncan, 50, category marketing director, Georgia Pacific (GB) Consumer Products. Experience personified, Duncan gained much of his expertise at Reckitt & Coleman, where he attained the post of marketing manager, before moving to Akzo Nobel, from 1988 to 1996, to work on Crown Paints, attaining the position of general marketing manager. In 1990 Duncan’s Crown Paint won an IPA Effectiveness Award and in 1999 Georgia Pacific (or Fort James as it was then) picked up The Drum’s SWAT Awards Grand Prix for its Nouvelle brand. With a total marketing spend of £6m, Duncan is a man to get to know, if only to profit from his experience and to hear his views on the general downsizing and the continuing reduction of marketing at main board level.

Ben Johnson, 37, European marketing controller, Schwan’s Consumer Brands. After six years at Weetabix Johnson needed to get his teeth into a new challenge – luckily Schwan’s and Chicago Town Pizzas provided him with a suitably mouth-watering opportunity.

Since joining in June 1997, Johnson’s “passion for his business” has facilitated the meteoric growth in recognition of the Chicago Town brand. According to him, it now stands as the 47th biggest grocery brand, “bigger than Weetabix, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and many other household names”.

Julian Neal, 31, marketing director, Phones 4u. Neal’s colossal £16m marketing budget has certainly been put to good use over the last year, with Phones 4u fast emerging as one of the strongest brands in UK retailing. The “ashamed of your mobile” campaign has bolstered its position in a faltering marketplace, raising awareness and providing an appealing point of difference. Neal is currently looking for more of the same as he aims to “continue to develop original, effective executions that truly stand out from the crowd”.

Charles Patterson, 35, international communications manager, Barclays Plc. Patterson joined Barclays as a post clerk at 16 and almost twenty years later is still happily climbing the ladder at its Radbroke Hall base. He is now in charge of managing the communications to some 7,500 employees, whose bases extend across the UK, Spain, Portugal, France and the United States.

If he was ever inclined to “do the dirty” on his beloved brand, the John Lewis Partnership would be first in line. “I worked for Waitrose whilst I was waiting to join Barclays,” he explained, “and I’ve always been impressed by the way they look after their people and consistently deliver a first-class product.”

Simon Thomas, 39, marketing manager, Green Flag Group. Motor enthusiast Thomas has spent his marketing career in car-related companies (Privilege Insurance, Direct Line Partnerships and, obviously, Green Flag) and names his favourite brands as Lotus, TVR and Alfa Romeo. His concerns off the road gravitate around customer loyalty and finding the most efficient communication channels in an ever-evolving marketplace. He’d most like to work on the Harry Potter brand so he “could get someone to cast a spell when budgets don’t add up”. He currently works with agencies such as Radford Advertising, Solutions in Leeds and Soup.

Kevin Tolson, 34, marketing and strategy director, Caradon Ideal. Tolson served tours of duty with a number of companies before settling with Caradon in 1998. To date, he states his biggest achievements have been the part he has played in the growth of Marley Plc, in which he was strategic planning manager and, more recently, the complete rebrand of Ideal. His ad agency, BJL, will also be sighing with relief at his belief in the importance of creativity.

Chris Tullett, 51, marketing manager, VAX Ltd. Tullett currently works with Robson Brown and Staniforth and he sees the lack of ethical standards and practices as demeaning to the industry. He says: “The biggest challenge is to market products in an entertaining, truthful and informative way, so as to add to the quality of life. This is not always the case and the result is damaging.” It may come as no surprise then that Oxfam is the brand he’d most like to work with, “because of its sound ethical standards, practical attitude in meeting objectives and contribution to a better world”. Bearing all this in mind then, next time you look at some advertising for Vax you’ll at least know that it’s using the truth to sell you something.

Quarter Finalists

Morwenna Angove, sales and marketing director, Eurocamp Travel Ltd. After a career immersed in alcohol, Morwenna fancied trying out holidays. Starting out as a graduate trainee for Bass, Morwenna moved on to Joshua Tetley, was promoted to Midlands marketing manager for Carlsberg-Tetley and then held senior positions at Victoria Wine and First Quench. Angove is now in charge of a marketing budget of £3m and feels that the marketing industry isn’t taken seriously enough. Her dream brand to work with would be Butlins, and the only thing that’s serious about that is the challenge that she’d face there.

Tim Betts, 27, sales and marketing director, Wimpey Homes Manchester. Betts entrusted the £900,000 Wimpey budget to McCann’s Manchester after joining the company as a graduate trainee. He has since become the youngest person ever to be appointed sales and marketing director at Wimpey Homes. He foresees the onward charge of improved IT as presenting a challenge to marketeers trying to deliver successful messages to consumers.

Nick Button, 35, brand director, The Galaxy Network. Button commented that the biggest challenge facing the industry is “the speed at which everything has to happen nowadays; trying to balance the time needed for deliberation with the pressures to make decisions now”. No doubt his agencies, BJL and Mediaedge: CIA, give him a helping hand. Fortunately, Nick still has enough time away from radio to recognise that Channel 4 has established itself as a leading brand in a tough market, and that the Co-operative Bank is the only brand he actively recommends.

Richard Coates, director of marketing and strategic planning, Best Western Hotels. Coates’ biggest professional achievement is successfully redefining the Best Western brand proposition and building a very talented marketing team around him. With a marketing budget of £3.5m, Coates makes full use of agencies such as WWAV Rapp Collins North, Brilliant, Zalpha and Hutton Peach. His favourite brand is Lego, which he says has constantly evolved to ensure relevance to its audience through product development and innovation.

Andy Mackay, 36, UK marketing manager, Electrolux Outdoor Products. Mackay has been with Electrolux for 14 years, which stands as quite an achievement. As the man responsible for driving the market position of the Flymo range, he has successfully mowed down the opposition, proving that he’s a cut above the rest. He earmarked Orange as his favourite brand, stating, “In the past 10 years it has emerged as one of the strongest consumer brands today – it’s also my favourite colour for garden products.” He retains Robson Brown as his agency of choice for a nice slice of his £3.5m budget.

John Myers, 43, group MD, GMG Radio Ltd. Myers has what you might call a “proven track record” when it comes to media. Having started his career at Red Rose Radio and progressed through Border TV, CFM and Capital, he’s built up a solid stock of experience, which has helped him establish Real Radio as a player in a short space of time. It’s an accomplishment the man himself is proud of. Myers cites launching Real Radio in three different markets in two years as his biggest professional achievement.

Sue Nelson, 40, director of marketing, ENCAMS. Nelson is the person responsible for hammering home the Keep Britain Tidy message. It is a cause she clearly loves as much as TV’s original yellow family, The Simpson’s (her favourite brand), prompting her to state: “The challenge of getting people to stop dropping litter is better than any consumer challenge you care to name.” If she could get “finance directors to believe that marketing is an investment and not a cost” her professional life would be pretty much perfect.

Brandon Pilling, MD, ACDOCO. ACDOCO is more than just a job for Pilling. The firm was started in 1919 by his grandfather and he is now the third generation of his family to challenge competitors such as P&G and Levers from sunny Bolton. He attained his position via hard graft rather than nepotism though, with a spell at Redfern National Glass before joining the sales department and working his way up through marketing. He secured the position of MD in 1992.

With such a proud heritage to build on, Pilling is keen to get the marketing right and as such is concerned about the continued fragmentation of the media and the “muddying” of above- and below-the-line disciplines. He cites his greatest achievement so far as acquiring the Stain Devils brand. His agencies include CBJWT, CIA Purely Media, The Spirit of... and Huet & Co.

Raman Sankaran, 32, marketing communications manager, Healthsure Group. Raman is yet another of our coterie of clients who are concerned over the continual fragmentation of the media. He noted that marketeers face a daunting struggle as they attempt to “select the appropriate channels in an age of massive diversification – diversification that continually gathers pace”. He was, however, one of the few to acknowledge that such diversification could be seen as “an opportunity”. Agencies that benefit from his £4m budget include Mere Communications, Lake Design and Rapid New Media.

Liz Wainright, 27, group marketing manager, Paramount Group of Hotels. After joining the industry in a post for Wella GB, Wainwright held two senior positions at Barclays Mercantile before heading to Paramount, first as marketing services manager and now in the overall group role. One of her first tasks for the hotel chain was establishing its website ( which now succeeds in attracting significant revenue for a minimal investment. This year she expects it to deliver in excess of 1 per cent of the group’s £65m turnover.

Ian Watson, 30, UK marketing manager and European brand manager, Record Tools. Watson is in the singularly masculine profession of the tool industry, where his achievements are varied and impressive. Since joining Record in 1999 he has been responsible for the re-invention and repositioning of the group brand, as well as, in his own words, “taking our Quick-Grip brand from 0 per cent sales to in excess of £2m in 2001”.

The Qualifiers

Richard Emmott, 39, head of communications, Kelda Group. With almost two decades’ experience on both the agency and clientside, Emmott is well qualified to steer brands along the right tracks. Qualifications he’ll need as he faces up to his biggest challenge to date: “rebranding the ultimate commodity product – tap water – as an added value brand without falling into the dull and worthy trap of the rest of the water industry.”

We’re quite confident that Emmott will successfully avoid the “dull and worthy” pitfalls, as he believes that the major concern for marketeers is, “taking themselves too seriously and implying more science and calculation than actually exists”.

Peter Elvin, 37, marketing director, Fredericks Dairies Ltd. Elvin himself is urbane in his comments on the industry, stating that his major concern is “creating strong brands and innovative products in a grocery market heavily led by price”. He obviously respects others who achieve this elusive retail grail and hails Marmite as “the perfect brand – absolute USP and heritage to die for”. With experience at McCain’s, Golden Vale and Muller, Elvin is well placed to make Fredericks “the Marmite of the ice cream world”.

John Forsyth, head of marketing, MK Electric. Forsyth is responsible for MK Electric’s £5m marketing budget. So far he seems to be putting it to good use. “We turned our trade customers’ perception of the brand to one of ‘good value for money’,” he explains, “whilst maintaining a 20 per cent price premium over our nearest competitor.” Forsyth signalled out “mediocrity” as the biggest challenge facing marketing today; something he clearly doesn’t associate with his favourite brand, Orange, or his agencies, 999 Design, Adrem PR and ICAS.

Julia Godfrey, 29, Eurocamp brand marketing manager, Holidaybreak. Godfrey is on a mission to invigorate the Eurocamp brand and appeal to a new generation of holidaymakers. Working with BJL, she got off to a good start with the “upgrading your holiday experience” campaign. Godfrey was also responsible for the re-branding of the children’s club product, which, she says, seems to have been a success: “Early indications suggest that this will have a major impact on customer retention.”

Lewis Grundy, marketing director, Berghaus. Apart from a brief flirtation with Wedgwood, Lewis Grundy has spent the last twelve years in the great outdoors. He started with Berghaus in 1990, moved into the aforementioned fancy crockery circles in 1994, before heading back outdoors to Karrimor in 1995, over to Regatta in 1999 and home to Berghaus in 2001. He is now faced with consolidating Berghaus’s position amongst the outdoor performance clothing field and ensuring that his marketing is kept simple and effective, a real challenge, as technology, media and other tools get ever more fragmented, he says. His agencies include Hewitson Waugh and Fords in Bristol.

Shane Harding, marketing director, Sealy UK. Harding is a rare breed amongst marketing directors. He doesn’t argue with his FD as he has taken the step of fixing his marketing budget at a certain percentage of the company’s turnover. This leaves our man with few problems in his position, but does nothing to alleviate his wider concerns for the industry. Namely the lack of “meaningful and accurate research findings” to justify campaign costs and the fact that often there are “too many industry experts, not enough knowledge”.

Craig Harrold, 30, senior brand manager, The Symphony Group. Harrold has been at Symphony for the past six years, following a previous six years of hard graft in the marketing department of Bettys & Taylors (of Yorkshire Tea fame). He extols Heinz as a model brand (“14 billion French fries can’t be wrong”) but expresses reservations about where marketing should draw the line – “is the World Cup really about which supermarket we should use?”

Paul Heathcote, MD, Heathcotes Restaurants. Heathcote might not be able to use a PC, but the combination of his culinary kudos and fine business acumen has ensured that he is at the vanguard of the metropolitan restaurant scene. With two Michelin stars under his belt, the Egon Ronay award for chef of the year 1995 and a keen marketing brain, Heathcote has built up a chain of five restaurants and a profitable outside catering business.

After co-ordinating his own campaigns and PR since opening the business in 1990, Heathcote has employed his first agency, Staniforth PR. The reasoning behind this move may well be that he sees the biggest marketing challenge as: “Coming up with new ideas, as everyone seems to copy my last one.”

Derek Thomas, 30, marketing communications manager, Hepworth Building Products. Thomas has been busy. Since joining Hepworth in 1999 he has set about redefining the brand and moving it away from its traditional association with manufacturing clay pipes. This is something that he spearheaded with the “More Than Just Clay” campaign, which embraced a host of disciplines, including traditional advertising, PR, merchandising, DM and a national sales push. According to Thomas, “Nearly six months on, it’s still being talked about in the industry.” As with a significant proportion of his peers, Thomas is most concerned about cost cutting and the fact that “marketing budgets are an easy target”. He continued, “We may be able to save money today, but if our customers don’t understand what we are about, or what we are about to become, all our futures (across all departments) could be under threat.” Wise words indeed.


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