Ref Vodafone’s marketing shenanigans, what does a global brand director actually do?

Our correspondent Stanley Roper (see comments) upbraids me for saying that one reason why Clare Sheikh may have fallen out with Vodafone was the ‘Yoda’ campaign from RKCR/Y&R.

Stanley (who may originate from an American version of a British sitcom, who knows?) says that Sheikh (left, from PR Week) had nothing to do with this campaign or Vodafone’s decision to move its UK account to WPP and then WPP’s Y&R, that was a UK decision not ‘global’ apparently.

But she did move the global account from Brazil’s Santos to Y&R in the UK he says, which I didn’t know either.

Assuming Stanley knows whereof he speaks, this is all a bit confusing isn’t it? If you’re the global brand director surely a big decision like moving to WPP and Y&R in London should be part of your remit. Especially when an undeniably global decision, moving something or other from Santos to Y&R in London appears to be the consequence of a local decision (appointing WPP, I know this is getting tiring).

Anyway let’s try to answer the question posed in the headline. What does a global brand director actually do? Is it a bit like being a global creative director, getting on lots of planes for lots of meetings and turning up at Cannes? I suppose there are all those Grand Prix to go to. At least a global creative director can sack the odd under-performing local. Does the global brand director at Vodafone (or anywhere else for that matter) have the same power over their underlings? Do they actually have any underlings to mistreat?

I suspect we’ll hear more about the powers or lack of them, of this role at Vodafone as Clare Sheikh’s dispute with the company rumbles on.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.