The Drum's New Year Honours 2015: Industry champions and ones to watch including top names from Buzzfeed and Aviva

As The Drum continues its rundown of 2015's top agencies, brands and people, we take stock of the industry champions and which names to watch out for in 2016.

The Drum's New Year Honours will be teased out each day over the Christmas period, with the list published in full in our first issue of 2016, published on 13 January.

Chief marketing officer of the year: Roi Carthy, Shine Technologies

Ad blocking burst into the advertising scene in 2015, causing both publishers and brands to pay more attention to the cracks in the digital ecosystem.

Shine Technologies, the startup that pioneered the technology, was never too far from those early debates, with its chief marketing officer the one pulling the strings.

He describes adware as “software with a legal department” and importantly has spoken openly about the company working with mobile operators to explore the potential of installing ad blockers on their networks.

While some have accused Shine and Carthy of causing hysteria in the advertising community, the fact that ad blocking is helping to convince businesses to change how they promote products is testament to a successful marketing strategy.

Media individual of the year: Janine Gibson, Buzzfeed

Having served at the Guardian for almost 17 years – most recently as US editor covering the Edward Snowden NSA leaks – Gibson jumped ship to head up Buzzfeed’s UK editorial operation in July.

Following her appointment, the publisher brought its branded video offering to the UK, launching with a campaign for Costa coffee. It also stepped up its news coverage, announcing plans to hire 14 editorial staff, including four regional beat reporters.

Under her tenure the Buzzfeed UK news team has tapped two other Guardian reporters: James Ball, now special projects editor, and Stuart Millar, who has joined as head of news.

Retail champion: Arnd Pickhardt

Arnd Pickhardt has been at the heart of Lidl’s transformation in 2015 from niche foreign discounter to a force in the UK that Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda are all trying to reckon with.

After being promoted to head up marketing in the UK, Pickhardt rolled out its first ever integrated marketing campaign under the ‘#LidlSurprises’ positioning which has cemented Lidl’s shift from talking about price to quality to appeal to more affluent shoppers.

In tandem with its increasing market share, sales have shot up with the retailer’s UK sales hitting a record £4bn in 2014 (up £700m). It remains to be seen if the brand’s seemingly unstoppable trajectory will continue as Pickhardt moves to manage the advertising and marketing in its native Germany.

Director of the year: Kim Gehrig

Australia-born, London-based director Kim Gehrig’s already enviable portfolio boasted the likes of Ikea’s ‘Kitchen Party’ and ‘Move to the Beat’ for Coca-Cola, but by the end of 2015 it is considerably more impressive, with no less than a John Lewis Christmas ad under her belt as well as some of the finest choreography ever committed to film in the shape of Honda’s ‘Stepping’.

It was her work for Sport England, however, where she toured gyms, sports centres and parks to find the real, un-airbrushed women who would become the heroes of ‘This Girl Can’, that left the biggest mark.

The spot is far removed from the glossy efforts peddled by big name sports brands, encouraging behavioural change and aiming to help women overcome fear of judgement when working out.

For going above and beyond: Amanda Mackenzie

Last year, Amanda Mackenzie embarked on a two-year secondment from her high-profile day job as marketing boss at Aviva to work with the United Nations and renowned film director Richard Curtis on an ambitious marketing brief: to educate every person in the world on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, namely ending extreme poverty and tackling climate change. Her passion and dedication to the efforts were clear.

The resulting campaign, Project Everyone, reached three billion people via a global cinema campaign, a radio promotion that streamed in 70 countries or text that mobile operators across the world sent to over one billion customers.

Not content, in 2016 Mackenzie wants to reach the remaining four billion people across the globe to make sure that world leaders are held to account for the promises they make.

One to watch: Rebecca Nicholson

Former live features editor at the Guardian Rebecca Nicholson was appointed UK editor-in-chief of forward-thinking digital publisher Vice in September, in a move that saw several women appointed to senior roles.

Nicholson is responsible for overseeing all UK editorial output across Vice.com, including that of its Broadly channel, focused on female content, which launched in summer 2015. At the time of her appointment she remarked: “Vice UK has changed a lot over the last few years and I can’t wait to work with its outstanding team of young journalists on shaping the next incarnation.”

We’re intrigued to see where she will take Vice next year, particularly given the publisher’s massive growth and confident strides in so many directions, not least its big brand partnerships and ambitions to launch its own TV channel.

One to watch: Holly Brockwell

Named The Drum Woman of the Year at the recent SheSays Awards 2015, Holly Brockwell is a remarkable force in the world of technology journalism.

Since she launched female-focused technology publication Gadgette less than a year ago, Brockwell has become a trendsetter in the digital media world, being called upon by the likes of Forbes and the BBC to comment on issues surrounding sexism in the tech world. In her role at Gadgette she leads the way in empowering women to become more comfortable with technology.

Her career began in copywriting with various roles in the agency world, including Collective and Albion, before making the move into journalism and joining ShinyShiny, where she remained for a year.

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