Marketing has always been my passion. While studying Psychology at York University, this passion extended well beyond classroom lessons on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as I became involved and participated in a wide range of business conferences, competitions and industry associations. It was through these great networking opportunities that I was able to meet exceptional marketing industry leaders who helped put my career in first gear. I kicked off my career at Campbell Company of Canada as an Assistant Brand Manager on V8¬Æ beverage in late 2008 and eventually transitioned onto the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers portfolio in mid-2009...and that’s when the wheels started turning. Managing the Pepperidge Farm portfolio exposed me to the strength of consumer-led insight and innovation that went well beyond Kids Snacking (Goldfish crackers) and into Adult Snacking (Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips) and Sweet Snacking (Pepperidge Farm cookies). The fundamental skills learned from the snacking portfolio and the consistent consumer first mentality helped me as I shifted my focus to Soup. Working alongside Moya Brown (Campbell Canada Marketing VP) and a talented cross-functional team, I helped revamp the ready-to-serve soup line up in August 2014 to meet the needs and taste profiles of consumers. The project was the largest strategic and most complex initiative that I had ever been a part of and impacted over 50+ SKUs, resulting in the consolidation of eight brands into three. The same passion that I had as undergrad student has continued now as I have become a successful marketing professional. Beyond my work at Campbell Canada, I am still very much involved in industry competitions, mentorship programs and roundtable events. Marketing isn’t a profession. It’s something you ARE, not something you DO.
When I began to work on Goldfish crackers back in 2009, I eagerly immersed myself into developing and learning about the brand as well as the Cracker category. By successfully identifying consumer trends and translating them into business opportunities, Goldfish crackers experienced 3 consecutive years of double digit growth, proving that Goldfish isn’t just a small little cracker!
While all cylinders were firing on Goldfish crackers, my focus was expanded from the niche kids snacking behaviour to driving total Pepperidge Farm masterbrand innovation. With the goal of expanding product breadth that is, to go beyond kid snacking into the adult snacking segment, I developed and led the adult snacking brand, Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips, in mid-July 2012.
I had worked closely with a cross-functional team (supply chain, product development, packaging engineering, finance, and sales strategy) to crack the nut on the age old problem of how to develop the perfect adult snack that balances both health and taste. Throughout the pre-launch process, I worked with our insights team and hit the streets to speak to Canadians. After countless hours in focus groups, we obtained enough nuggets of insight to get the project started. Working with product development, supply chain, and packaging, we created a snack that had the bold taste and crunch of a chip, baked into a wholesome cracker and packaged in a convenient re-sealable bag. Partnering with finance and sales strategy teams, my team and I determined the perfect pricing strategy to satisfy our consumers‚ wallets while continuing to fuel the Campbell Canada and Pepperidge Farm bottom line.
Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips results in Year 1 were outstanding! From a consumer lens, the product resonated strongly and the marketing and sale strategy had products flying off the shelves it had surpassed all Trial, Repeat, Awareness Cracker Category IPSOS norm benchmarks. From a Campbell Canada perspective, the launch had over delivered against plan on volume, Net Sales, and EBIT by double digits.
As Goldfish crackers and Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips were making snacking history, I worked with a sales, procurement and legal team to close the gap on the missing piece of the Pepperidge Farm snacking equation: breaking ground in cookies.
At the time, Pepperidge Farm cookies were distributed by a broker in Canada and had limited distribution in retail stores. The objective of our team was to seamlessly transition this business from the broker to Campbell Canada and drive total Pepperidge Farm presence in Canada in and out of the Cracker aisle.
In my four short years on Pepperidge Farm, I had the pleasure of working alongside a dedicated and extremely talented team and we proved that Campbell Canada is more than just a soup company.
During the Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips pre-launch exploration, we learned that, when it comes to snacking, the number one factor in choosing a snack for women was health followed by taste; however, for men, taste was king. Since Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips offered the taste of a chip with the wholesomeness of cracker, it was truly the one snack that both men and women could equally love. It was this nugget of insight that sparked our marketing launch campaign targeting couples.
Since Campbell Canada’s creative agency partner BBDO worked with Frito-Lay, the brand team opted to take an unconventional route to drive awareness of Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips. Leveraging the insight that men and women snack differently, the brand team partnered with MOFILM to sponsor a film competition that crowd-sourced content from young filmmakers. The winning commercial reeled such impressive online results (according to a test conducted by IPSOS) that Campbell supported the film with a substantial media investment and it aired on national TV. Not only was this exciting for the young New York City independent filmmaker who had create our commercial, but it marked the first time Campbell Canada had used crowd-sourced film content on national TV.
To drive trial, the brand team partnered with BOOM! Marketing to take over holiday events, sporting events, malls and other locations where couples tend to spend time together. While most places can be considered couple friendly‚ we chose specific events and venues where we knew either the man or women were giving up their own desires to join their partners. My favourite event executed was at the Toronto Bridal Show where the drama was brought to life in a living room, half of it presented in masculine and the other half mirroring a very feminine design, as we sought out males, applauded their loyalty to their spouses, award them with masculine prizes, product samples and assured them that Pepperidge Farm Cracker Chips was the one snack they didn’t have to compromise on.
As I reflect on the most important contributors to my early professional success, I am most grateful for the love and kindness from my friends and family and the inspiration and motivation from industry leaders. If it weren’t for their support, I wouldn’t be where or who I am today and for this reason, I focus on giving back to them in the best way that I can
Love & Kindness: Like most families, cancer has hit close to home on several occasions and, after the passing of my grandmother, I decided to make it my mission to help bring an end to the widespread disease by pairing it with one of my other passions, personal fitness. For three consecutive years, I have organized teams to participate in various runs in Toronto and the GTA (Relay for Life, the Goodlife Toronto Marathon, and the CIBC Run for the Cure) in order to help raise funds for cancer research and treatment organizations. One of the most successful fundraising events I orchestrated was for Relay for Life. I led a team of 7 individuals to run/walk for 24 straight hours resulting in over $4,000 of raised donations.
Inspiration & Motivation: The most valuable experiences throughout my university career consisted of attending business conferences, which allowed me to connect with individuals in the marketing industry. I would leave each conference having witnessed dozens of inspiring campaigns and, more importantly, having heard firsthand what motivates those in the industry to devote their entire lives to creativity, advertising and marketing. I have realized how much the words of wisdom of the speakers at these conferences have contributed to my pursuit of a career in brand management. As a form of paying it forward, I have attended QMAC (the Queen’ss Marketing Association Conference) on several occasions with Mark Childs (Samsung Canada, CMO), hoping to meet with and inspire future marketers to seek a career in brand management, much in the same way I was once inspired.
In an effort to raise the global profile of Canadian Marketers, Aaron Nemoy (Kraft Canada, Senior Brand Manager) and I participated in the Canadian Globe & Mail Cannes Young Marketers competition with the goal of representing Canada at the most renowned marketing event in the world, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity
On home soil, our efforts earned us the Gold prize where we beat out over 48 other participating teams. This win sent us to Cannes, France to compete. This is the first time Canada had participated in the competition and I’m proud to say that we were awarded the Bronze prize. To be recognized as the best marketers in North America and the third best marketers in the world‚ (as dubbed by Jacqueline O’Sullivan, VP Marketing of Microsoft Advertising) by international industry executives has been the highlight of my career thus far and my greatest achievement.
Upon our return to Canada, we used our success to inspire other young marketers in the country to step up on the international stage and show the world that Canada is a force to be reckoned with and a true leader in marketing.