How a Culture of Collaboration Between Brands and Marketers Leads to Business Results



Burger King’s Global CMO believes that creativity is a driving force to build brands and achieve business results.


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Burger King Global CMO Fernando Machado believes marketing is a combination of logic and magic, and that creativity is a driving force to build brands and achieve business results.

When asked by Viacom Head of Ad Solutions Sean Moran, whom he sat with for a fireside interview at CES, about the fine line between the art and science parts of marketing, Machado said we need both. “Everyone has the same data. So, if you’re just managing by data, you’re probably not doing anything that its very different,” he said.

Earlier, during a keynote presentation, Machado cited Mark Zuckerberg’s “the biggest risk is not taking any risk” quote, and encouraged the audience of brand marketers to “let the idea grow” and “trust uncertainty” as ways to achieve the kind of creative breakthrough that moves the needle for brands.

During the subsequent fireside Q&A, the Burger King CMO also embraced data, which he says his team uses to “come up with insights.” “We test everything to make it better,” he said, adding that even though they tend to be more conservative “when there was a lot of media money,” in most cases, they took calculated risks as long as they were on brand/brief.

Moran noted that Machado’s ability to tap into the zeitgeist to revamp a culturally connected brand like Burger King wouldn’t have been possible without the right team. Machado credited his agencies, which he affectionately calls “my partners in crime.” “I hate the expression client/agency,” he’d said adding that he liked to think of brand and agencies as a unified “brand team.”

This way of “creating a culture within the organization,” as Moran described it, has given Burger King its most-recent brand wins, such as the Google Home Whopper, McWhopper, and Chocolate Whopper campaigns, which in many cases originated in the company’s regional offices. “When you set up reactions through results, people feel they are empowered to do more,” Machado said.

When Machado highlighted Burger King’s star-studded chicken strips campaign, Moran asked him about his take on influencer marketing. “I don’t have anything against celebrities or influencers as long as it’s authentic,” the Burger King CMO said. He added that five years ago he would’ve been focused on finding someone who has the most reach, now he’d go for someone smaller as long as the influencer has “an authentic history or affinity with the brand”.

Lastly, the top marketers addressed the way technology is changing QSR. “We still have a lot to do regarding CRM,” Machado, who admitted to having come to CES to learn best practices, said. “I wish we would’ve been here for many years back,” he concluded.

The fireside interview between Sean Moran, Head of Ad Solutions of Viacom, and Fernando Machado, Global CMO of Burger King, was conducted as part of the annual “Brands Bet on Digital” Conference which was held in Las Vegas in conjunction with the Consumer Electronic Showcase (CES).

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