New Year Honours: The Drum editorial team's people of 2019

Thas Naseemuddeen

In the newest issue of The Drum, we award our New Year Honours to the agencies, brands and people who have proved, throughout 2019, that marketing can change the world. Pick up a copy to see the entire list and read our reasoning, but in the meantime here's a glimpse of the marketers, creatives, politicos and provocateurs who we think made 2019 a year to remember.

Thas Naseemuddeen

LA indie Omelet promoted Thas Naseemuddeen (pictured top of page) to chief executive in 2019 following her four years at the agency, first as chief strategy officer then adding managing director to her title. The empathy the former Deutsch strategist brings to the job has not gone unnoticed in the LA ad scene and beyond.

Amy Williams

We can’t get enough of Amy Williams, the ethical entrepreneur making it on to our 50 Under 30 list and into our Digerati. And we make no apologies for featuring her once again as we recognise the people proving that marketing can change the world, with her adtech company Good-Loop funnelling money that would otherwise end up with Google and Facebook into the more needy pockets of charities.

Raja Rajamannar

Mastercard’s chief marketing officer Raja Rajamannar made headlines in 2019 when he launched the financial services company's sonic logo and revealed the brand's physical 'flavour'. He also took over the reins as president of the WFA and set an agenda focused on upskilling talent and addressing brand safety on social platforms.

Nick Law

The former R/GA vice-chair and global chief creative officer, who had taken up with Publicis Groupe in 2018, became the envy of pretty much the entire ad industry when it was announced in June that he would be leaving behind the holding company agency realm to join Apple as vice-president of marcom integration.

Joelle Barthel

The new head of brand the most-downloaded women’s health app in the world, Flo Health, Joelle Barthel previously helped to disrupt the women’s wellbeing market as global marketing manager at Elvie – the femtech favourite behind the silent wearable breast pump and smart pelvic floor exerciser. Her work in the femtech space is well worth keeping an eye on.

Jack Ma

He's the former English teacher who built an e-commerce empire from nothing and amassed a $40bn fortune despite admitting he knows nothing about computers, but while Jack Ma brought his 20 year spell at the helm of Alibaba to a flamboyant close in 2019, his philanthropy and investment in African entrepreneurs will ensure he remains on our radar.

Carole Cadwalladr

Her work exposing the Cambridge Analytica scandal was one of the biggest stories of the decade. And with her Ted talk in July and Netflix film in July, she kept the story on the front pages and on the lips of legislators. And when our guest-editor Rankin interviewed her for the cover story of our October issue, she vowed to keep up the fight.


Photographer and provocateur Rankin continued to question the ways beauty is represented in the media in 2019, from his ‘Selfie Harm’ project looking at Snapchat dysmorphia to his Portrait Positive book. He also launched his own agency and even guest edited a special issue of everyone’s favourite marketing and media magazine.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

The representative for New York’s 14th congressional district first made a name for herself in 2018 when she won an unlikely election fight with an exceptionally well-designed campaign and a deft use of social media. But it’s her work in 2019 that earned Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a place on our New Year’s Honours, the lawmaker using her spot on the House financial services committee to provide articulate and necessary scrutiny of Facebook’s political advertising policies.

This newest issue of The Drum is out now and looks back on the best brands, marketers, media companies, agencies and organizations – as well as the finest campaigns – of 2019. And since this is our first issue of the new decade, we review some of the finest work of the last 10 years, before we turn towards the next 10.

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