Adweek Names 2016 Brand Genius Class

NEW YORK — Adweek has chosen its 2016 Brand Geniuses, the masterminds of marketing, and Brand Visionary and Brand Save honorees. The 27th annual Adweek Brand Genius celebrates the best and brightest minds in marketing across ten distinct categories. The 2016 award show will take place on Tuesday, October 25 at The Rainbow Room in New York City.

Adweek’s Brand Geniuses represent the leading thinkers of the marketing world whose creative vision, innovative marketing tactics and dynamic leadership have been instrumental in launching, reinvigorating or expanding a brand. This year sees the first return winner, Olivier François for Jeep. Previously, François was honored in 2012 as the creative force behind Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit” campaign.

The 2016 Brand Genius class, as chosen by Adweek Senior Editors, are:

Automotive: Jeep, Olivier François, Chief Marketing Officer, FCA – Global and Head of the Fiat Brand
Financial Services: TD Ameritrade, Denise Karkos, CMO
Health & Beauty: Estée Lauder, Jane Lauder, Global Brand President, Clinique
Hospitality: Airbnb, Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO
Lifestyle: Shinola, Bridget Russo, CMO
Pharmaceutical: Flonase, Meredith Herman, Digital Marketing Director Consumer Healthcare North America, GSK
Restaurants: Taco Bell, Marisa Thalberg, CMO
Technology: Intel, Steve Fund, CMO
Toys: Barbie, Lisa McKnight, SVP, GM
Travel: Jet Blue, Elizabeth Windram, Director of Brand Management & Advertising

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been named Brand Visionary for 2016 and will accept his honor at the gala. Brand Visionary acknowledges and celebrates a career’s worth of achievement in creating a world-renowned brand. Schwarzenegger’s personal reinvention and brand brilliance led him to the top spot this year. He joins an elite group of Visionaries that include 2015 honoree Arianna Huffington, Bono, Russell Simmons and Michael Bloomberg.

Brand Save commemorates one pro-social brand that brings excellence, innovation and ingenuity to cause marketing and the world of charity. This year’s honoree, Pencils of Promise, is a for-purpose organization that builds schools, trains teachers and funds scholarships around the common goal of education for all. One hundred percent of online donations go to Pencils of Promise programs. The nonprofit joins past honorees Every Mother Counts and (RED). Accepting the award is founder, Adam Braun.

“Adweek’s 2016 Brand Genius class is truly representative of the innovative and daring work being done to push brands through a cluttered marketplace and into the spotlight,” said Adweek Editorial Director James Cooper. “These honorees deserve recognition for supporting their teams and producing the highest-quality work this year.”

Each honoree will be profiled in Adweek’s dedicated Brand Genius Issue (October 24) and on During the award ceremony, Adweek will also name the Grand Brand Genius from the 2016 class, whose exemplary achievements are in a category of his or her own.