Sunday, May 31, 2009
6792: The Girls’ Club.
Advertising Age presented its Women To Watch 2009, featuring a few women of color including the executives below.
Esi Eggleston Bracey
VP-Global Cosmetics, CoverGirl
By Jack Neff
BATAVIA, Ohio—“Easy, breezy” as CoverGirl’s slogan may be, the cosmetics business hasn’t always come easy for P&G. Nor has it always been a thing of beauty.
Olay cosmetics failed, and Max Factor got booted from most U.S. stores but Walmart over the past decade. CoverGirl has faced a tough fight against L’Oreal in particular.
But the business has never been in better shape than now under Esi Eggleston Bracey, 38, VP-global cosmetics. CoverGirl has been gaining share for more than a year and, thanks to Lash Blast mascara, it been staging a particularly effective run at an eye makeup business long dominated by L’Oreal’s Maybelline.
CoverGirl’s U.S. shares were up in all three of its major categories—eye, lip and face—last year and last quarter, and brand sales overall were up despite broad recession-fueled in cosmetics, according to Information Resources Inc. data from Deutsche Bank.
When P&G Chairman-CEO AG Lafley in April referred to a current restructuring of the beauty business allowing “our best-performing beauty and grooming leaders to get more responsibility and to grow faster,” clearly Ms. Bracey was one of them. Though she’s had the global role for two years, she’s in the process of relocating from Hunt Valley, Md., to Geneva to assume more direct day-to-day oversight of the global business.
“Without a doubt, CoverGirl’s mascara innovation [Lash Blast] has grown the eye segment,” Ms. Bracey said in an e-mail. “We’ve tripled our market share in mascara in the past three years and doubled our market share in the eye segment in the same time frame.”
More recently, Cover Girl and Olay Simply Ageless Foundation, backed in an unconventional but highly successful move by Ellen Degeneres as spokeswoman, became the best-selling foundation at mass retailers during its first full quarter on the market, she said.
Ms. Bracey was P&G’s first female African-American general manager, though she says the milestone is really about valuing diversity more broadly. “If my role inspires people to appreciate our unique gifts,” she said, “then I’m making a difference, and that means a lot to me.”
Ms. Bracey’s move into general management in 2007 wasn’t her first tour of duty on cosmetics. And it actually allowed her to reap benefits of work she did as a marketing director on the business early in the decade, said Dave Rose, a former CoverGirl brand manager, now marketing consultant.
Those were tough times, he noted, just after P&G pulled the plug on Olay cosmetics, with little in the CoverGirl innovation pipeline, he said. Ms. Bracey provided the leadership to help change that.
“People were pretty shell shocked,” he said. “She did a good job of getting us going again.”
Creative Director, DDB, Chicago
By Jeremy Mullman
CHICAGO—When Anheuser-Busch approached its agencies about launching Bud Light Lime in late 2007, DDB had a problem: The product was supposed to appeal to women and cocktail drinkers, and its A-B account team didn’t have either. So the agency’s chief creative officer, the late Paul Tilley, handpicked Vida Cornelious, a standout creative on the agency’s McDonald’s account, to lead the shop’s pitch for the business and its work on the brand.
Ms. Cornelious proposed that the agency position Bud Light Lime as “a summer state of mind.” The agency won the pitch, and the campaign Ms. Cornelious created—featuring music from the pop star Santogold—turned the brand into Anheuser-Busch’s most successful product launch, by some measures, since Bud Light itself.
Ms. Cornelious, a New Jersey native, attended Hampton University undergrad and later received a master’s degree in advertising from the University of Illinois. Her first advertising job out of school was with Burrell Communications.
Since joining DDB nine years ago, Ms. Cornelious, 38, has worked on some of the agency’s largest accounts and most memorable campaigns, including Dell’s memorable “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” effort.
A ‘day job’
For the past four years her primary focus has been McDonald’s, which she said remained her “day job” even during the Bud Light Lime push. In that role, she focuses on product launches, having developed campaigns to get salads, snack wraps and an Angus Burger off and running.
She’s also regularly worked as a mentor to other young, minority creatives.
Marlena Peleo-Lazar, McDonald’s chief creative officer, ranks Ms. Cornelious “among the best” creatives the marketer has worked with. “This is clearly a woman who should be honored and celebrated,” she said. “McDonald’s and a whole host of other world-class brands have benefited from her insights and expertise.”
Indeed, she has been honored, having her work shortlisted at Cannes and winning a gold medal from the Chicago Creative Club and a 2008 AdColor Award.
After Ms. Cornelious’ AdColor win, DDB Chairman Bob Scarpelli remarked that he was “proud DDB has her.”
Alas, not for long. Later this month Ms. Cornelious is departing the agency to accept a group creative director role at GlobalHue, an agency that specializes in both general-market and multicultural advertising efforts. “From a professional standpoint, having an opportunity to lead a team really appealed to me,” she said. “But I also think that, with where we are in the culture right now, with a diverse president, that it’s a real opportunity to make strides in how ethnic marketing is perceived.”