Outstanding Marketer 2017

In the competitive fast-food category, taking a risk to stand out from the big guys isn't easy, especially on a smaller budget. But Rob Lynch, brand president and CMO at Arby's, does it over and over again - and with great success.

Winner

Rob Lynch
Arby’s Restaurant Group

In the competitive fast-food category, taking a risk to stand out from the big guys isn’t easy, especially on a smaller budget. But Rob Lynch, brand president and CMO at Arby’s, does it over and over again — and with great success.

Beginning with the now iconic We Have the Meats campaign launched shortly after he joined from Taco Bell in 2013, Lynch has shown a unique ability to take the right risk at the right moment. He targeted one campaign just at hunters, teamed up with pro golfer Andrew "Beef" Johnston, and poked fun at vegetarians with a Leap Day-only veggie menu, all the while showcasing the brand as a purveyor of high-quality, innovative food.

Behind the bold moves was more than just instinct. Lynch also leads research and development — and he follows the customer, knowing who they are and what they want.

In 2015, Arby’s had its best sales year yet, and significantly outpaced quick-service restaurant industry same-store sales growth rates.

It also racked up the exposure and kudos, from industry and business media to consumer outlets.

"Rob Lynch has done a tremendous job revitalizing Arby’s," said a judge. "He’s made the brand relevant and he has staked out a clear positioning for the company. Rob’s not afraid to mix it up to advance the brand."

In addition to leading brand marketing and advertising, Lynch also heads up new product innovation, and is president of the Arby’s Franchise Association. He is credited with major product innovation and is on track for the release of 24 new menu items and limited-time offers in 2016. "His strong leadership drives business growth and impact," said a judge.

He is also chairman of the Arby’s Foundation, which has contributed more than $21 million to organizations working to combat childhood hunger in the U.S. and brought more than 460 million meals to kids nationwide.


Honorable Mention

Antonio Lucio
HP

"Exhibits strong leadership in transforming brands," is how one judge described Antonio Lucio, HP’s CMO. The 25-year brand marketing veteran joined HP as it readied its split from Hewlett-Packard into a new company, separate from the Enterprise unit. In the last year, he helped invent brand positioning, including HP’s Keep Reinventing effort, which became a global narrative and internal rally cry for staff. Prior to HP, he was CMO at Visa when it carried out its IPO in 2008. In the last year, he helped increase women leaders in HP marketing from 20% to 50%, and he asks the same of agency partners.

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