People & Players

Coke Taps Asian Marketing Chief Darren Marshall for Global Job

Working With Global Retailers, He Will Integrate Shopper and Customer Marketing Strategies

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HONG KONG (AdAgeChina.com) -- Coca-Cola Co. is promoting its top marketing executive in Asia, Darren Marshall, to a new global role intended to bring synergy to the beverage giant's advertising and retail operations.
Coke's Darren Marshall in Hong Kong
Coke's Darren Marshall in Hong Kong
He will relocate to Atlanta as VP, global customer and shopper marketing, starting July 1, 2009. He will be responsible for Coke's efforts to develop integrated strategies for global customers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco.

Mr. Marshall, 41, will provide shopper-oriented marketing expertise, said Jerry Wilson, senior VP, chief customer and commercial officer, also in Atlanta.

Working with major retailers, Coke can become "more shopper-centric in what we do and how we do it. Today, we are a little too brand-focused," Mr. Marshall said.

The new role "gives us an opportunity to connect with the entire value chain and make sure our marketing plans in a retail environment really connect with people walking through a supermarket or other retail outlet. We need to have the right product range and the right merchandising saying the right thing, including packaging and price points," added Mr. Marshall.

He is currently based in Hong Kong as group marketing director for Coke's Pacific group, which covers most of Asia.

Coke's top Asian marketing role will be assumed by John Hackett, also on July 1. A 21-year veteran of Coca-Cola, Mr. Hackett was most recently the VP, global commercial leadership in Atlanta, leading global development in areas like revenue growth management, shopper marketing and customer relationship marketing. He has held other roles in the company such as senior VP of marketing for North America.

Mr. Marshall, a native of Canada and an accomplished pianist who majored in music at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, joined Coca-Cola in 1998 as regional marketing manager for Malaysia, based in Kuala Lumpur. The following year, he was behind a breakthrough for regional marketing directors at the company globally, by launching the first localized TV spot for the company's global "Enjoy" campaign, at a time when Coke was trying to do more localization.

Before that, Coke relied heavily on global platforms created primarily for American consumers that were not always suitable for other regions, particularly Asia. One widely-used campaign, for instance, featured a polar bear.

Between 2000 and 2003, Mr. Marshall held regional marketing roles while based in Singapore and Bangkok. In 2003, he was promoted to division marketing manager for Southeast Asia, where he developed brands like Qoo, a fruit drink created by Coke in Japan. He moved to Hong Kong in his present role four years ago.

While in Asia, he has helped Coke expand its product portfolio, particularly by creating new teas, juices, and herbal beverages, and introducing new ingredients such as aloe. He also worked on Coke's marketing as a global sponsor of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.


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