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WFA Global Marketer of the Year 2021 shortlist revealed: vote now to crown your winner

WFA Global Marketer of 2021 shortlist unveiled

Marketing chiefs from Lego, Coca-Cola, Diageo and more have been shortlisted for the 2021 World Federation of Advertisers Global Marketer of the Year Award in partnership with The Drum – and now it's time for you to decide the winner.

An expert jury of 15 marketing industry leaders, chaired by WFA president and Mastercard marketing chief Raja Rajamannar, considered more than 30 eligible marketers as part of the shortlisting process, with each judge nominating their top six. The seven with the most votes have now been shortlisted for the public vote.

They are Natura's Andrea Álvares; Unilever's Conny Braams; Dole Sunshine Company's Rupen Desai; Diageo's Cristina Diezhandino; Lego Group's Julia Goldin; Coca-Cola's Pratik Thakar and Mars Inc's Jane Wakely. Read their profiles below.

You can now vote for your favorite at globalmarketeroftheyear.com. Voting is open until 31 December 2021 and the winner will be announced on The Drum and on the Global Marketer of the Year website in January 2022.

Jury chair Rajamannar said of this year's contenders: “2021 hasn’t been an easy year. More lockdowns and rapid changes in consumer behaviour combined with new demands for action on sustainability and diversity have ensured that agility is the key to success for global and regional marketers. The super seven shortlisted for this award have managed these challenges with poise and deserve our congratulations.”

Stephan Loerke, chief executive of WFA, added: “Global and regional marketers have a raft of challenges and their to do list expands all the time. From their role as explainers of sustainable living to drivers of diversity and inclusion and business growth generators to drivers of digital strategy, there are many areas where their influence can pay dividends. Our shortlist represents the very best of our profession.”

The winner will be following in the footsteps of P&G’s Marc Pritchard (2020), L’Oréal’s Lubomira Rochet (2019), Mastercard’s Raja Rajamannar (2018), and Unilever’s Keith Weed (2017) who have also won the accolade during its five-year history.

2021 shortlist

Andrea Álvares, chief brand, Innovation, international and sustainability officer, Natura

Álvares has helped empower the company’s consultants’ network by providing representatives with new digital tools, extending payment terms and supporting them during the pandemic. She has also played a strong role in helping Natura drive up its innovation index, which has risen nearly 10 percentage points in the last two years.

Conny Braams, chief digital and marketing officer, Unilever

As Unilever’s first chief digital and marketing officer Braams has led the company’s digital transformation and identified new opportunities for growth. Braams believes brands have a responsibility to make sustainable behaviors easy and every day.

Rupen Desai, global chief marketing officer, Dole Sunshine Company

Rupen has developed a new business model for Dole – driven by a clear purpose that good nutrition is a human right – that is delivering sustainable growth. He has worked with Piñatex to turn pineapple leaves into vegan leather, resulting in a new series of Nike shoes, and helped set up the Sunshine for All Fund, which allows start-ups to evaluate and test new technology within the business.

Cristina Diezhandino, chief marketing officer, Diageo

While at the drinks brand Diageo, Diezhandino has re-imagined how the company’s 1,200-strong marketing team works. She and her team have introduced quarterly plans and small challenge teams to address specific short-term problems. During the pandemic she focused on enabling consumers to recreate that bar feeling at home, growing the e-commerce business, while also supporting bars and bar staff.

Julia Goldin, executive vice present, chief product and marketing officer, Lego Group

Goldin’s remit covers product development, licensing and partnerships as well as marketing, research and the company’s in-house creative agency. During the pandemic, she and her team devised the #letsbuildtogether campaign to support isolated children and their parents in just two weeks.

Pratik Thakar, head of global creative strategy and content, Coca-Cola at TCCC

Thakar has led structural changes that have allowed Coca-Cola’s marketing teams and agency partners to collaborate even more closely during the pandemic. He has created new merchandising partnerships and launched the company’s game-themed “One Coke Away from Each Other” campaign.

Jane Wakely, lead chief marketing officer, Mars, Inc.

Wakely is driving the transformation of Mars’ marketing function, delivering a new mandate – building brands for mutual value – to create a roadmap for sustainable growth. Recent campaigns include Sheba’s Hope Reef product, where the brand partnered with National Geographic to help regrow coral at the site in Indonesia.

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