We will announce the three finalists next week, and you have until 20 May to cast your final vote. The award will be presented on 8 June at the London Hilton on Park lane. Vote now: by sending the name of your choice to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Markey, Marketing director, More Th>n
In the sometimes uninspiring world of insurance marketing, the More Th>n brand stands out for its innovation and creativity. Markey, its brand's recently appointed marketing director, has been key to this growth. During his tenure as head of acquisition marketing, Markey delivered double-digit year-on-year sales growth and reduced cost-per-sale by more than 15%. In a depressed market, his strategy increased sales over the phone by more than 18% in 2008. He also achieved significant cost-savings across the business while building the brand into one of the most recognisable in its sector.
Richard Reed, Co-founder, Innocent Drinks
Coca-Cola's investment in Innocent Drinks earlier this year ensured the brand has kept its place in the media spotlight. Despite the recession, Reed has forged ahead with new product development and Innocent has successfully diversified into Orange Juice and Veg Pots. Reed is the antithesis of the 'classically trained FMCG marketer' and is known for innovation and commit-ment. The business, now a decade old, in effect created the UK smoothie market, taking on PepsiCo-backed PJ Smoothies and winning. Innocent has maintained its ideals despite its massive expansion, and consumers are still invited to drop in to Fruit Towers whenever they like.
Andy Fennell, Chief marketing officer, Diageo
While many people recognise creativity, very few are as capable as Fennell at stimulating and liberating it. Diageo's marketing, then, could not have been placed in better hands. When handed charge of Smirnoff vodka and Diageo's rum portfolio globally, Fennell doubled their turnover in three years. As European marketing director, from January 2005 he spearheaded rapid growth in Eastern Europe and Russia, particularly for Diageo's Scotch business. He also drove the revitalisation of Guinness in Ireland and the creation of Diageo's responsible-drinking consumer activity across Europe.
Bart Becht, Chief executive, Reckitt Benckiser
Becht has led the growth of Reckitt Benckiser, building up the cleaning-products group into one of Britain's biggest firms, with a market capitalisation of £20bn, and creating some of the sector's best-known brands. Becht says one of the reasons he knows a thing or two about cleaning is that he does it all at home. He became chief executive of the company in 1999. Between then and 2006, its net profits more than trebled from £200m to £768m. Becht focuses his efforts on just 19 'power' brands, including Vanish stain remover, Harpic toilet cleaner and Cillit Bang surface spray; a focus that has proved to be a winning strategy.
Ben Pearman, Marketing director, Birds Eye UK
Pearman has effected a major turnaround in the Birds Eye business. Brand penetration is at a record high of 84%, and Birds Eye's brand reputation has been transformed by hiring the right people and running innovative marketing campaigns. Crucially, as the economy has nosedived, Birds Eye has continued to invest in marketing - no small feat. Several years ago the brand had been written off, as demonstrated by Unilever's sale of it to private-equity firm Permira. Today it is a salient and dynamic brand and an attractive business. Marketing has been key to this achievement.
Steven Lowell, Manager - customer analysis, Britannia Building Society
Britannia Building Society is Britain's second-biggest building society, but as a mutual organisation it has a relatively small marketing budget. Despite the ongoing financial uncertainty, the brand has increased brand awareness and differentiation, driven savings and mortgage growth and boosted its customer numbers, all while improving margins. The 'Building a Fairer Society' campaign, overseen by Lowell, has delivered huge returns - acquisition and retention have both increased by 30% in the past two years.
Paul Foley, UK managing director, Aldi
Foley has directed Aldi's phenomenal sales growth and, despite the downturn, has enabled shareholders to approve a £1.5bn investment programme. While the supermarket chain has no doubt benefited from consumers trading down, Foley has developed a marketing programme based on long-term brand-building. Aldi, which entered the UK market in 1990, has this year recorded a massive uplift in ABC1 customers, who now account for half of those coming into its stores. Signing up TV chef Phil Vickery to front its ads has further boosted the brand and had a direct impact on sales; for example, sales of sea bass soared after one of Vickery's recipe ads run last October featured the fish.
Jon Goldstone, Marketing director, Hovis
Having previously worked as vice-president of marketing on the Walkers brand, at Premier Foods Goldstone took on Hovis. It was a brand that had been in decline under its previous owner, RHM, and he gave it a top-to-toe make-over. A new roster of agencies was assembled and MCBD created the 122-second, instant classic 'As good today as it's always been' Hovis ad. Goldstone has turned the brand around in an impressively short space of time, at a time when many brands are cutting back, playing it safe or simply re-running old ads. Hovis has also invested in NPD and secured significant press coverage with its reintroduction of the Little Brown Loaf it first sold in 1886.
Troy Warfield, Managing director, Kimberly-Clark, UK and Ireland
Holding the purse strings of a £60m annual marketing budget, Warfield has a big task on his hands. He influences the direction of both Andrex and Kleenex globally and has set the benchmark for health and brand marketing. He has also successfully spearheaded new distribution models and forged strong partnerships with retailers. The numbers speak for themselves: Kleenex grew category sales £16m between 2006 and 2008, while last year Andrex increased its volume sales by 8% on 2007. Additionally, Warfield has led several sustain-ability and charity initiatives.
Patrick Allen, Marketing director, The Co-operative
Allen has been a huge marketing force, following the Co-op's merger with United Co-operative. From acquiring 3000 Somerfield stores to rebranding the existing 4200 UK outlets of the pharmacies-to-banking group's retail arm, Allen is not one to shirk a challenge. Marketing work has been particularly successful in high-lighting the brand's community activity and issues such as Fairtrade. The Co-operative has even launched its own digital TV channel dedicated to raising awareness of the group's leadership on ethical issues. The 'Good for everyone' strapline has been key to the brand's renaissance and Allen's tenacity and focus has been vital in driving this growth.
Chris McLeod, Head of marketing, Transport for London
A former agency man (he began his career at Leagas Delaney in the 80s), McLeod is credited with ushering in a new era of creativity at TfL. With a wide-ranging remit, he has responsibility for a diverse range of marketing programmes for London's biggest advertiser. Recent accolades include a Cannes Gold Lion as well as IPA Effectiveness and MCCA Best Integrated Campaign awards. Memorable work includes the 'moon-walking bear' ad, which had an enormous impact virally. A cycling safety spot, meanwhile, wonderfully conveyed the point that if you are not looking for something, you can easily miss it.
Jeremy Blood, Managing director, Heineken UK
Since brewer Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) became part of Heineken NV in April 2008, Blood has led the very successful integration of the two companies, and consolidated S&N UK's position as Britain's leading beer and cider business with an unrivalled portfolio of differentiated brands. During a tough period of change in the drinks industry, he has been at the forefront of several challenging and innovative marketing programmes. Blood, who joined S&N in 1988 as a graduate trainee, has worked his way up through the company, holding marketing and strategy positions in both the beer and pub retail divisions.
Gwyn Burr, Customer director, Sainsbury's
With its 'Feed a family for a fiver' campaign, Sainsbury's was ahead of the curve as the downturn hit. Burr has a daunting remit at the supermarket, with responsibility for marketing, own-brand and customer service. However, she has successfully positioned Sainsbury's as a value-for-money retailer while keeping green issues and healthy eating to the fore. A seasoned professional, she has more than 20 years' business experience, including five with Nestle Rowntree and more than 13 with Asda/Wal-Mart. She is also the chairman of Business in the Community's Cause Related Business Leadership Team.
Sheila Mitchell, Marketing director, Department of Health
In her role as marketing chief of the Department of Health, Mitchell has led the innovative Change4Life campaign and is tackling the country's ever-increasing waist-line with a broad £75m, three-year marketing campaign. She is credited with recognising the role of businesses in providing part of the solution and has supported the Business4Life coalition, which has pledged to make a sizeable contribution of £200m to health campaigns.
Katie Vanneck, Managing director customer direct, News International
This high-profile media marketer has proved that it is possible to create innovative campaigns and grow readership in a downturn. As well as relaunching the Times newspapers' subscription service, Vanneck drove the launch of Culture+, the first national news-paper loyalty club for subscribers, and gained an active participation level of 47% in its first six months. She also led major brand campaigns including The Times 'unbranded newspaper' push, which achieved significant buzz, and introduced The Sunday Times' first endline change for more than 20 years with the 'For all you are' campaign.
Phil Rumbol, Marketing director, Cadbury
The fact that Rumbol has made this shortlist two years in a row is testament to the continuing marketing innovation from Cadbury. Almost two years on from the now iconic 'Gorilla' campaign, the confectionery brand has been behind yet another viral sensation with its 'Eyebrows' ad. The brand also secured a coup when it brought back the Wispa bar. The campaign sparked a wave of copycat 'retro' activity by rivals. Cadbury has also continued to invest in innovation, from a range of sharing sizes to additional flavours for its organic Green & Black's brand.