Britvic appoints Unilever’s Kevin McNair as GB marketing director

Britvic has appointed Kevin McNair, previously head of foods for Unilever’s North America market, to the role of GB marketing director as it looks to expand across categories by driving innovation in the adult soft drinks market.

Kevin McNair circle

McNair, who will take the post on 5 May, will be in charge of all brand marketing for Britvic’s GB market, and will focus on driving category growth, innovation and brand value.

He succeeds Jonathan Gatward, who will move on to the role of global category and capability director for Britvic after ten years in GB marketing. Gatward will report to Britvic’s CMO Matt Barwell.

McNair, before his role at Unilever, where he worked in various marketing roles over an 18-year period on brands such as Flora, also gained sales experience at the Whitbread Beer Company.

“Kevin brings a wealth of experience to the business having held a variety of global, regional and local marketing roles with Unilever over an 18 year period,” said Paul Graham, Britvic’s GB general manager.

“We are confident he will add significant value to the business, driving brand value. As a member of the senior leadership team he will also be critical in continuing to push forward the transformation that is underway across the business.”

Britvic recently revamped its marketing strategy to become more coordinated.

After creating several senior marketing roles last year as part of an effort to grow its brands across the world, in November Britvic introduced a new marketing process that looks to drive better work and higher standards.

The strategy will involve a focus on creativity and innovation as well as a push in digital spend, with 15% of media in digital in 2015 compared to 9% last year. The soft drinks giant will aim to ramp this up to 25% in 2016.

Within the strategy, Britvic is looking to bring in new consumers across its categories by playing into the adult soft drinks category and by improving the nutritional content of its products.

Earlier this month Britvic launched J20 Spritz, a sparkling version of the popular J20 brand with an adult focus.

It also launched Teisseire in February the UK, a premium syrup that can be added to water, alcohol or coffee, which also has a premium positioning as well as a no-sugar variant.

Despite its push into the adult soft drinks market, the company will continue to drive its kids and family categories with a refresh of the Robinson’s brand in the spring, which will involve new flavours, new packaging and a new communications platform as well as limited edition bottles to celebrate the brand’s 80th year of sponsoring Wimbledon.

Matt Barwell added: “I am delighted to welcome Kevin to Britvic and Jonathan to the global marketing team. These moves reflect the importance of marketing to our business and are set to maximise our marketing capability, strengthening our focus on brands and innovation, as we develop category leadership.”


Q&A Simon Litherland, Britvic CEO & ISBA President

Alison Millington

Following his first few months as president of ISBA, Britvic CEO Simon Litherland spoke at ISBA’s Annual Conference today (11 March) to set out the main priorities and issues the advertising body will face this year. Marketing Week caught up with Litherland after he had delivered his opening address to talk about declining trust in advertising, the importance of building open conversations with consumers and how the outcome of the upcoming election could affect the industry.