TVNZ NZ Marketing Awards 2019: Philip Poole inducted enters TVNZ Marketing Hall of Fame

‘An urbane Englishman’ is how The Listener described Philip Poole and there’s no doubt the marketing industry would disagree.

Having spent 17 years working for Unilever across South Africa, Thailand, and England on Rexona, PG Tips, Persil and Sunsilk he then launched the Dove brand into New Zealand and changed the bathing habits of teenage boys forever with Lynx.

His Unilever work was followed by four years as the marketing director for NZ Lotteries Commission before he joined Whittaker’s in 2002.

Career highlights include leading NZ Lotteries to receive the Best of the Best Global Award and hiring Nigella Lawson for Whittaker’s.

But it’s not just been a famous face that Poole’s added to Whittaker’s. Leading its marketing, he’s helped grow it into a global business with 150+ products, 160+ staff and exports to 29 countries.

Poole is the man behind the legendary Whittaker’s vs Cadbury palm oil advert and directors Andrew and Brian Whittaker credit him with delivering success they never would have dreamed of when he started – you only need to see Whittaker’s other TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards this year to see that’s true.

Poole’s Whittaker’s team say he is “irreplaceable”, calling him a world-class act who leads with trust, a spirit of innovation and a wry sense of humour that can win over even the accountants.

“Philip has been integral to Whittaker’s year-on-year growth, not only sales, but also profit growth, and the value of the Whittaker’s brand has never been higher,” Holly Whittaker, marketing manager,  says.

His marketing legacy is one that sticks as he’s taught multiple generations of marketers to be 80 percent confident, 20 percent nervous, to ask ‘where’s the ambition’, to think better before cheaper and revenue before cost, and to challenge the notion that world-class results require global budgets.

Beyond his work for Whattaker’s, those who nominated Poole for the award say he never turns people wanting help away.

They add most people can quote a ‘Philip- ism’ as he’s spoken at various organisations including the Marketing Association, SMEs, universities and community groups. He’s also on the board for Bay Blueberries and consults for multiple SMEs.

It’s no wonder Poole is a deserving addition to the TVNZ Marketing Hall of Fame.

Here’s what his peers had to say about him:

“Philip is a true gentleman in every sense of the word, but don’t let that fool you, he is ruthless in his belief that marketing and especially advertising can create value and a magnetic connection between brands and consumers. His belief that the middle and safe are not the right places to play as a marketer has seen him central to some amazing work, for Lotto, Instant Kiwi and now Whittaker’s. In his own unique style, Philip pushes everyone to be better, and for an unwavering focus on the marketing work to be better, and to have more connection and influence. His trust in his ‘gut’ and the trust he places in the instincts of those around him often sets him apart today.”
– Matt Bale, MBM managing partner.

“Philip and I started working together in 1995 when he became the marketing manager of New Zealand Lotteries. Among other things, he was a great mentor to the Marketing Graduate Programme we had and brought that professional marketing ‘Four Ps’ approach – product, price, place and promotion – it got us all on our toes. He also resisted any changes by IT or accountants that in anyway impacted on the brand or products and during this time I think we produced some of our best TV ads and some of our newest products were copied all around the world.”
– David Bale, former CEO of NZ Lotteries.

“Philip understands the power of creativity and gravitates to strong creative ideas and strong creative people. I think vice versa, good creative people have loved to work with Philip and that’s one of the reasons why he’s been so successful in his career. Some of the work he’s produced through NZ Lotteries and Whittaker’s has been some of New Zealand’s best.”
– Geo Ross, executive chair, Moa Breweries.

This piece was originally published in the 2019 Awards Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. To get a print copy, subscribe here.

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