Clif Bar CEO: We are ‘well on our way with plans to transform the business’ with new executives, ad campaign

By Elizabeth Crawford contact

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Clif Bar & Co.
Source: Clif Bar & Co.

Related tags: Clif bar, Marketing, energy bars

Clif Bar & Company is moving forward with its “next stage of purpose-driven growth and expansion” with today’s launch of a fully integrated marketing campaign that reaches beyond the company’s typical consumer base of ultra-athletes to appeal to active everyday people.

The energy snack manufacturer also announced today a trio of newly appointed industry veterans who will round out the company’s executive team under Clif’s CEO Sally Grimes, who took the helm last year with a bold goal of doubling the company’s business to $2bn and doubling its positive impact on the world​.

“Big ambition demands big thinkers,”​ Grimes told FoodNavigator-USA. She added with the addition Shaunte Mears-Watkins as chief commercial officer, Hari Avula as chief financial and strategy officer and Roma McCaig as senior vice president of impact and communications, along with the previously announced new hires Rizal Hamdallah as chief innovation officer and Jennifer Bentz as executive vice president of applied technology and insights, “I believe we have the right executive team in place now to meet those ambitious goals.”

She explained that between the new hires and the new marketing campaign Clif is “now well on our way with plans to transform the business … and that transformation of the business is now driving a transformation of the brand”​ so that it can reach more people with more diverse, organic and sustainably-produced offerings that are good for consumers, the planet and the company.

As the company expands, Grimes emphasized the business will remain committed to its Five Aspirations to sustain people, communities, planet, brands and business – values that she says each new hire shares and which are reflected in the new marketing campaign.

New campaign celebrates and inspires ‘big and small’ movement to appeal to more consumers

For nearly 30 years, Clif has championed and fueled hard-core athletes and weekend warriors, but to achieve its ambitious new sales targets the company needs to expand its appeal to more consumers by embracing a broader definition of adventure and movement.

The company’s new “Let’s Move the World”​ advertising campaign does this by celebrating all movement – “both big and small, and importantly the nutrition and energy that’s needed to keep moving,”​ Grimes said.

The campaign’s first video spot does this by opening with a shot of a pick-up basketball game followed by clips of a kickboxer, weight-lifter, mother-daughter duo exercising in the backyard and skateboarders – all common activities that will help the brand connect to more diverse consumers.

“What’s really cool about this [ad] is the cast actually featured real people taking part in activities that they love. So, we had a real mother-daughter combo doing a workout in their backyard. We had street skateboarders. We had the Dragon House hip-hop dance group – an acclaimed dance troupe – which is really fun,”​ Grimes said.

Even as the brand opens the door to broader consumers, it also reinforces its connection to world-renowned athletes by showcasing in a longer version of the video spot American soccer player Megan Rapinoe and tennis player Venus Williams.

“It’s really about this inclusive range of movements,”​ Grimes said. “We’re not walking away from that athletic heritage. It is definitely an ‘and’ and not an ‘or.’ And that’s why we’ve included some of those world-renowned athletes in our campaign – but we’re expanding to be more inclusive and more expansive than we ever have before.”

Not only is the campaign content expansive, but so is its reach. The video ads will appear on streaming services including Hulu, Roku and YouTube and across social media, including Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat.

“Throughout the summer and fall we are even going to leverage TikTok, as well as audio on Spotify and Pandora,”​ Grimes said, adding, “this is the most significant campaign ever embarked on”​ by the brand.

While the campaign’s first spot focuses on the company’s iconic Ultimate Energy Bar, future ads will feature the diversity of Clif’s portfolio, including several recently launched products designed to meet the different nutritional needs of consumers as well as fill different eating occasions.

For example, the ads will also feature Clif Bar Minis, Clif Nut Butter Bar and the recently launched Clif Bar Duos. Other recent innovations, including Clif Thins, which come two to a pack with only 100 calories, and Pop’n Crunch snacking clusters, also will be promoted through current and new marketing.

An experienced leadership team will help shape Clif’s transformation

To ensure the successful execution of the campaign as well as the company’s broader strategies to fuel fast growth, Grimes carefully selected a new leadership team with broad-reaching industry experience that can help build out the company’s portfolio, better connect with modern consumers and reinforce key business attributes for sustained “purpose-driven growth and expansion.”

Among these are Mears-Watkins, who as chief commercial officer, will oversee the new marketing campaign and help lead enterprise-wide growth initiatives, including brand strategy, marketing and sales. She also will help Clif with the ongoing hiring of upwards of 50 employees who will bring much-needed new capabilities to the company, including expertise in advanced analytics, technology, agile innovation, design thinking and modern revenue growth management.

Noting that Clif is about a third of way through filling those roles, Grimes lauded Mears-Watkins’ experience with “developing people, which I love.”

Mears-Watkins comes from The Clorox Company, where she was most recently vice president of strategy, following senior positions in brand management, sales and marketing.

Also joining the team is McCaig, who comes from the Campbell Soup Company, where she served as vice president of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

“What is interesting about [McCaig] is that while she is a CSR, sustainability and communications expert, she also has spent a lot of time in operations roles across companies – so both procurement and operations – which is really interesting as we think about our sustainable procurement practices,”​ Grimes said.

Finally, as the new chief financial and strategy officer, Avula will oversee enterprise business strategy and financial management. To do this he will lean on his experiences in senior finance, business transformation and strategy leadership roles at Walgreens Boots Alliance and PepsiCo.

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