Coca-Cola Co. has named Melanie Boulden as its new senior VP marketing for North America, giving the former Reebok and Crayola marketer an influential role in its critical U.S. market, including advertising related to the Super Bowl and Olympics.
Boulden has been with Coke for a year, leading the company’s so-called stills business, which includes water, tea and coffee. Her promotion to marketing VP signals that Coke could be taking a fresh look at its ad approach, given that she is still relatively new at the company and has previous experience outside of consumer packaged goods.
At Reebok, Boulden oversaw global marketing and brand management and was known for helping the Adidas-owned brand reclaim a place in pop culture. That included a campaign called "Sport the Unexpected" that helped spark a fashion resurgence at the brand, with its kicks being worn by celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Ariana Grande.
Boulden joined Coke in 2019 as president of its venturing and emerging brands unit and was quickly elevated to oversee the stills business. She’ll keep that role but add marketing oversight for both stills and carbonated beverages. Her appointment comes four months after the departure of Geoff Cottrill, who had served as the beverage giant’s senior VP of strategic marketing in North America since 2018. Boulden will have broader responsibilities than Cottrill.
“She’s come in and been shooting up pretty quickly,” says Duane Stanford, editor and publisher of Beverage-Digest. Her experience outside of the consumer packaged goods industry signals that “she’s not necessarily going to hue to the decades-long patterns in beverages,” he says.