Vodafone appoints Anne Stilling as global brand and media boss

Stilling is a Vodafone veteran / Vodafone

Vodafone has promoted Anne Stilling to global director of brand and media, filling the role left vacant by Sara Martins de Oliveira.

Having spearheaded the brand's move towards an in-house digital media model, Oliveira left Vodafone in 2019 due to a family relocation.

The Drum understands that Stilling has now taken on the top marketing role and will be based in the UK.

Vodafone did not comment on the news.

Stilling is a Vodafone veteran, having steered the telecoms giant's brand and media strategy in the German market since 2009. Before joining the business, she cut her teeth in FMCG marketing at Kraft, overseeing brands such as Jacobs Coffee, Coffee Hag, Coffee Onko, Kaba and Kraft Lunchables.

The exec's appointment comes amid a period of change for the brand's marketing department, which has been experimenting with in-housing and working with agencies in a more "flexible" way.

After backtracking on an initial plan to in-house digital media buying, Oliveira took the leap in summer 2018. Since then, Vodafone has built internal teams which now serve 11 of its 25 markets. Biddable media, including search and social, is now run within the company's own walls.

Stilling's predecessor also switched up Vodafone's agency roster before her departure, appointing Dentsu Aegis’ Carat to handle the remainder of its $400m media operations.

Oliveira then brought Anomaly on board as the firm's global creative agency, tasking the shop with ensuring Vodafone's global work had a positive and social impact.

In the UK, the brand continues to work with WPP’s Team Red led out of Ogilvy.

Speaking at The Drum's 2020 Predictions event earlier this month, Maria Koutsoudakis, Vodafone’s UK brand and marketing director, said the group's (ongoing) in-housing journey had led to a more “blended” way of working between its own talent and that of its creative and media agencies.

“We’ve built flexibility into the model, but we’ve only been able to do that because WPP has our commitment,” she said.

“If you don't have that commitment with your agency, then everything is based on the last transaction, then it's really hard to ebb and flow. But having that broader commitment [has allowed] us to create that bespoke team that we need in Vodafone depending on the job to be done.”

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