Looking back at your career at InBev, what are you most proud of?
‘It's the way that we've brought a new generation of marketers into the company. We've turned people who would have never thought of themselves as marketers into marketers. Right now, one of my close sales colleagues is actually joining the marketing team. It's a little bit uncomfortable for him but it represents the direction that we're going in. For me, the greatest thrill ride is to see how we've been able to transform.’
Is there a particular campaign you're most proud of?
‘Besides Tienda Circa and Corona Fishing, I would bring up #NoExcuse, from Carling Black Label. We won a Grand Prix for it in 2018. It's speaking to the fact that in South Africa there are a lot of individuals, in particular men, who use alcohol as an excuse for domestic violence. A large part of that campaign spoke directly to people who are our consumers. For some brands that might be a really scary thing to do. The clear message was: there is no excuse for domestic abuse. We worked with the government in South Africa on that campaign. It has gone on for some three and a half years now, so it's something that we continue to do. It's part of who we are as a company. In the US we were one of the first organizations to come out in favor of wearing seatbelts and don't drink and drive. We're really glad that it has become a legal mandatory for people in our industry, because we think that's good for communities.’
Looking at the challenges we're facing right now - war in Ukraine, staggering inflation, the energy crisis, sustainability problems - how do you cope with that as a brand?
‘One of the reasons we created draftLine was that we felt we were too far away from our consumer. There were two things we really needed to learn: the who and the what. Who are our consumers? And what is the reality of the world that they're living in? We're consistently looking at our work, asking: is it speaking to the actual consumer need that exists in the world right now? One of our submissions at Cannes this year is for a project we started when the war in Ukraine broke out. It came from this insight that there are lots of people around the world who would like to help in the humanitarian efforts, but they don't know how. So, we said: what if we make it as simple as buying a beer? We took the most loved beer brand from Ukraine, and we launched it in 13 different markets around the world. We make zero money off of it, we donate 100 per cent of the proceeds to NGOs. It's an easy, seamless way for consumers to get involved in something that they care about. It took us six weeks from idea to launch.’
Finally, can you tell us any plans regarding brands, products, or innovations?
‘We have an exciting pipeline of products and campaign work, and we are consistently looking at how we can reinvent our portfolio and our offering to meet what consumers are looking for. Today, that means more things in the seltzer space, more things in the flavored space. So, lots more to come. Stay tuned at your local retailer because you're going to see a lot popping up on shelves soon.’