Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My Digital Hero: Wendy Clark, Chief Executive Officer at DDB Worldwide

We’re asking some of our industry’s leading figures to nominate their digital hero and to explain what’s so special about them.

Wendy Clark joined Omnicom as as DDB North America president and CEO in 2016, after two years as president of sparkling brands and strategic marketing at Coca-Cola North America. In 2018 she was promoted to DDB global president and CEO, becoming the first woman to lead an Omnicom network.

Wendy was chosen by Simon Miles, Global Customer Director, Coca-Cola as his My Digital Hero and now she passes on the honour by picking her own digital hero.

Who is your digital hero?

Jane Wakely — Lead CMO, Mars Inc and Global CMO of Mars Pet Nutrition.

What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?

Jane is inspirational in her relentless pursuit of what’s next for some of the world’s biggest brands. She’s revolutionizing the pet care ecosystem from the ground up, taking incredibly well-loved brands and shaping an interconnected, data-led business that is future facing, value generating, AND also totally in service of building better lives for our four-legged friends.

It’s this blend of innovation, compassion and fearless drive that makes Jane a true hero in my eyes.

How has her heroism helped drive digital?

Jane and her team are creating an environment in which learning, experimentation and mobile-first thinking are table-stakes. Jane’s sponsorship of digital platforms like K.I.T. on Whiskas (a must for new cat owners) and groundbreaking data-lead ecosystems on IAMS are just the tip of a digital communications iceberg that’s both engaging and functionally powerful.

Jane is also driving embedded programs and capabilities across the Mars Inc organization that intentionally put digital at the very heart of their business, way beyond just the communications environment.

These programs include innovation with global platforms, with emerging technologies, and with both global and local ecommerce platforms.

Jane’s pioneering passion is creating a momentum for change across Mars Inc which I truly believe will deliver results that digital marketers from all categories will learn from.

What are the biggest challenges in digital we need another hero to solve?

At a recent Association of National Advertiser’s (ANA) meeting, brand safety was the top concern on marketers’ minds. This has got to be worked out.

When brand marketers are spending some amount of their time focusing on brand safety instead of brand growth, creativity and innovation, then that’s critical time, opportunity and potential lost.

What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?

Honestly, I think that’s yet to come and, in fact, might be an ongoing pursuit.

I’m way more interested in what’s ahead than what’s in the rear view.