Walkers names new marketing chief

PepsiCo has appointed Sebastian Micozzi to oversee marketing strategy for its Walkers snack brands in the UK.

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He replaces Greg Lyons who is taking on the role of marketing director for PepsiCo Beverages in Canada. Micozzi is currently vice president of marketing for the Pepsi Bottling Group franchise in Spain, where he is credited with introducing an award winning digital and social media strategy.

Micozzi, who will take the title head of marketing for Walkers, will be responsible for a team of about 30 marketers.

He will oversee the brands’ multi-million ad budget. PepsiCo spent £9.7m on advertising for its Walkers Snacks brands such as Walkers, Doritos and Red Sky in 2010, according to The Nielsen Company.

Walkers has pursued a brand strategy designed to build engagement by involving consumers  in its flavour innovation process in recent years. Initiatives include Do us a Flavour, the Walkers Flavour Cup and a charity tie up with Comic Relief, which invited consumers to nominate and vote on new variants.

The brand also continues to use long-standing brand ambassador Gary Lineker in its advertising for the core brand alongside other celebrities including Elle Macpherson and Lionel Richie.

He will also steer PepsiCo’s long term innovation agenda for Walkers in the UK and Ireland, including driving the uptake of healthier variants of Walkers snacks.

As part of its strategy to become a business whose profit and growth are driven by healthier products, the company has pledged to make sure that 50% of its savoury snacks – including the Walkers brand – are baked or include “positive nutrition”, introduce a cap of 160 calories across all single serve savoury snacks, and increase the availability of its Walkers Baked crisps by 25%.

It has already reformulated the core Walkers range to reduce salt and saturates.

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