Munroe Bergdorf to headline Festival of Marketing

The model and trans rights activist who was fired and rehired by L’Oréal will be talking about why diversity should matter to brands at the event, which takes place on 23 to 25 March.

Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf. Credit: Luke Nugent

Model and trans rights activist Munroe Bergdorf will be headlining the final day of the Festival of Marketing: Transform, which kicks off next Wednesday.

The podcast host and author became L’Oréal’s first transgender model in 2017, but was dropped just two days later after she published a post about racism on Facebook, which the brand claimed expressed views that were “at odds” with its values.

The beauty giant was heavily criticised for its decision, with people questioning how the business can claim to champion diversity and then fire Bergdorf for speaking out about racism.

She has described the situation as “extremely traumatic”, but after receiving an apology from the brand’s new president Delphine Viguier in 2020 she re-joined L’Oreal as a member of its UK diversity and inclusion advisory board.

At the Festival of Marketing, Bergdorf will talk about becoming L’Oréal’s first transgender model and how brands can inspire change. As well as sharing her own experiences, she will talk about why diversity should matter to brands and how they can create a more inclusive culture.

Elsewhere, Mars Petcare’s Chris Rodi has joined the line-up of more than 80 speakers. Having launched five direct-to-consumer brands in the past 18 months, he will be sharing what works and what doesn’t, as well as the key lessons the business has learnt along the way about getting the balance between brand and performance right, how to measure success and digital innovation.

Meanwhile, Morrisons’ chief customer and marketing officer Rachel Eyre, Volvo customer director Nicole Melillo Shaw and Pilgrim’s Food Masters’ Dawn Spencer will be talking on a panel about sustainability. They will discuss practical examples on how brands can adopt sustainable practices.

There will also be a session on what marketers in B2B can do to deliver greater impact and gain more influence, with speakers including Mimi Turner from The B2B Institute at LinkedIn and consultant Annabel Venner.

Other speakers include Eve Sleep’s CMO turned CEO, Cheryl Calverley, and Marketing Week’s award-winning columnist Helen Edwards, who will be underlining just how marketing can transform brands, businesses and the economy. While Diageo’s CMO Cristina Diezhandino will share how the drinks giant has repeatedly transformed its brands as they look to meet new challenges.

Transforming the route into marketing will be another key focus, with a session looking at why marketing needs to think differently about recruitment. M&S Food marketing director Sharry Cramond, Unilever’s Lisa Hutchinson and the School of Marketing’s Ritchie Mehta will be talking candidly about what the industry must do to improve the socio-economic and ethnic diversity of marketing.

Transforming perceptions is the key theme for a session featuring Channel 4’s former CMO Dan Brooke (now CEO at Smart Energy GB) and current marketing director Amber Kirby, who will be talking about how the broadcaster’s ‘Super Humans’ Paralympics campaign helped change people’s perspective on disability.

Meanwhile, Starling Bank’s CEO and founder Anne Boden will be talking alongside brand director Rachel Kerrone about the digital bank’s approach to innovation, customer experience and the importance of marketing in its success.

And to top things off, there will be a series of masterclasses taking place across the second two days, covering everything from how to transform an organisation into an ecommerce business, to how to be a better marketing leader.

Festival of Marketing: Transform takes place on 23 to 25 March at The QEII Centre in London and online. There are a number of ticket options. Visit the website for more details and to book your place.



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