Sean Gleason

Senior VP-Brand Action Team, Dr Pepper Snapple Group

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At Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Sean Gleason is affectionately referred to as BAT-man. The boisterous 43-year-old is senior VP of the Brand Action Team.

The moniker, instituted after Mr. Gleason arrived in 2005 from Pizza Hut, is meant to convey the creativity of his group, which previously carried the more mundane title of Marketing Resources.
Sean Gleason, senior VP-Brand Action Team, Dr Pepper Snapple Group
Sean Gleason, senior VP-Brand Action Team, Dr Pepper Snapple Group

In keeping with his superhero status, Mr. Gleason is quick to deflect attention from himself, recognizing team members with "Hero Awards" -- Batman figurines stand in for trophies -- and the "Make Some Noise" award.

It's not unusual to find the executive blowing an air horn in the halls of the company's corporate offices to announce the latest winner, says Randy Gier, exec VP-marketing.

"It's always noisy in the BAT team. I suppose I should be worried if it's quiet down there," Mr. Gier says. "Sean has really unleashed his team with the challenge of every day coming to work and doing something different."

Things were a lot quieter before Mr. Gleason's arrival. On his watch, Dr Pepper Snapple has spawned an internet sensation with the YouTube video "Cherry Chocolate Rain" and purchased an eBay offer to be a bridesmaid. Then there was the promise of a Dr Pepper for every American if Guns N' Roses released its long-awaited "Chinese Democracy" album. There have also been product integrations with "30 Rock," "The Colbert Report" and "One Tree Hill."

Each of these out-of-the box media executions has garnered national attention and served to increase awareness of the company's brands, which compete with giants Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo.

"We don't really have the budgets of the big guys, so we have to do more to get our messages heard," Mr. Gleason says. "We market for impact."

And while it's clear that Mr. Gleason and his team are having plenty of fun in the process -- the Guns N' Roses idea came during a session of "Guitar Hero III" -- each media deal and integration is carefully crafted with the consumer in mind.

"I call him bi-brainal. He's incredibly creative but also strategic," Mr. Gier says. "Sean is able to open people's minds around how to embrace consumers. ... He really does engage his team in getting to bigger solutions."

Mr. Gleason is quick to say that his team of executives -- Greg Artkop, public relations; Shaun Nichols, advertising; Alice Nolan, media; Tony Mata, merchandising; and Javier Delgado, Hispanic marketing -- are his secret weapons.

"It's like we're one of those superhero teams where every hero has a different power," he says, "and when we all come together, it's even more powerful."
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