Esi Eggleston Bracey

Marketer of the Week

Leading Unilever's Next Gen of Marketing: Esi Eggleston Bracey

Months after revealing its new marketing leader, Unilever has been named as this year's Creative Marketer honouree at Cannes Lions

By Stephen Lepitak

It’s been almost a decade-and-a-half since Unilever was last named as the Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes Lions, and a lot of campaign work and hundreds of awards have been won since then.

In naming it this year’s recipient, the festival does so as the British multinational, which owns brands including Hellman’s, Dove, Magnum and Marmite, enters a new era in its marketing under Esi Eggleston Bracey, its recently promoted chief growth and marketing officer.

The former P&G and Coty executive took over leading the marketing team from Conny Braams who announced last May that she was set to leave the business after 33 years before departing in August.

Speaking in April to Women in Retail about her latest role, Eggleston Bracey explained that her goal was to accelerate and maximise growth opportunities and value creation within Unilever.

“From leveraging digital and artificial intelligence platforms to driving unmissable superiority, preparing our marketers with pioneering capabilities to win the hearts, minds and pockets of the people we serve today and tomorrow,” she added of the opportunities she was identifying to drive future impact for its brands.

Eggleston Bracey joined in 2018, following the acquisition of Sundial Brands by Unilever. She would lead Unilever’s $5 billion Beauty and Personal Care portfolio for North America which included responsibility for its Hair, Skin Cleansing, Skin Care and Deodorant businesses including brands such as Dove, TRESemmé, Suave, Vaseline, Degree, Axe and SheaMoisture.

As part of that remit, an ongoing element of her work within Unilever has focused on the social impact that its brand portfolio can have, with Positive Beauty at the heart of that work.

That included founding melanin-focused skincare brand MELE alongside Sarah Irby, created by Unilever in recognition of the lack of skincare specific to women of colour.

She has also helped create the Polycultural Centre of Excellence at Unilever’s R&D hub in Trumbull, Connecticut to deliver a more diverse, inclusive product experience for under-represented people. And she co-founded the Crown Coalition, which aims to support legislation to end race-based hair discrimination in the US.

Keith Weed, who was Unilever's CMO when Eggleston Bracey joined the business, says: "We share a great passion in understanding people’s needs and unmet needs, then striving to satisfy them better than the competition. We need more marketers like Esi that put people first. If your consumers are happy, your business will thrive and all the other stakeholders will be well rewarded. That is truly sustainable growth."

And things seem to be going in the right direction for the business, with a 4.4 per cent sales growth announced for its first quarter results of this year.

Work produced by Unilever’s brands since she took control of the global marketing team has included Hellmann’s latest Super Bowl spot which continued its 'Make Taste Not Waste' campaign.

Last month, a three-minute spot was released as part of a campaign for detergent brand Persil featuring the hunt from a young Arsenal fan to reclaim the autograph of Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka after it was accidentally washed off her team shirt.

The Chicago native, who now resides in New York, has been recognised for her work with accolades including being named as an ADCOLOR Legend, Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever, Ad Age Women to Watch, Women’s Wear Daily Marketer of the Year and Beauty Cares Dream Ball Passionate Leader.

Simon Cook, chief executive of Lions, explains that its was aims to annually celebrate brands that consistently deliver work that raises creative excellence across the advertising sector.

He continues: “Unilever is pushing the creative boundaries consistently and continuously across a wide range of brands from different markets, in collaboration with a breadth of agency partners, demonstrating a clear understanding and commitment to the power of creativity as a driver for progress and growth.”

Previous winners of the award include AB InBev, Apple, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Google, Heineken, IKEA, Mars, McDonald's, Samsung and Microsoft.


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