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Dick Brunton and John Macdonald for Hall of Fame

Industry leaders Dick Brunton and John Macdonald elected to Marketing Hall of Fame

Two icons of marketing, who have made a significant long-term contribution to marketing in this country, have been inducted into the ICONZ / Marketing Magazine New Zealand Marketing Hall of Fame.

Dick Brunton

Dick Brunton is the joint-founder and current chairman of Colmar Brunton and has spent the past 30 years in marketing research, understanding consumers, markets and brands.

“Dick is most certainly a highly deserving and worthy admission to the Hall of Fame,” says Steve Bridges, former professor of marketing and head of the department of marketing at Massey University and fellow hall of famer.

“He has made a substantial and significant contribution to the growth of marketing research in New Zealand from the small, fledgling industry it was 30 years ago to the large and dynamic one that it is now. The fact that Colmar Brunton is now the largest independent market research company in Australasia speaks volumes about Dick's marketing acumen and his customer-centric approach to his own business.”

For 20 years he ran the company, but over the past 10, he has had an increasing involvement in consultancy, culminating in his passing on the CEO role to become chairman of Colmar Brunton and director of BrightHouse, the company’s strategic and creative arm.

Dick has given speeches and written articles on many subjects, more recently these have focused on his passion to help organisations become more truly customer-focused – in particular assisting companies to create and deliver distinctive customer value. His article ‘Passion and Purpose in Business’, published by the Auckland University Business Review, is currently used in university marketing lectures.

Tom Agee, marketing lecturer and previous inductee into the Marketing Hall of Fame, who has followed Dick’s career says that while other market research firms have imploded, amalgamated, spun off, or sold to multinationals, Dick Brunton has kept on keeping on and keeping up with the play.

“In the 25 years I’ve known Dick, I can only guess how many marketing campaigns succeeded because of his wise counsel and the solid work of his organisation, and as a result the hundreds of marketing managers whose careers he helped along the way.”

Over the years Dick has assisted in pioneering new research categories, methodologies and technologies (including licensing software overseas), opening eight offices and inspiring and assisting clients to innovate. His knowledge and counsel has been inspiration to countless researchers and marketers.
Dick has always given back to the marketing community and has served on a number of industry bodies, including being chairman of AMRO (Association of Market Research Organisations) in New Zealand, a founding member of the University of Auckland Marketing Advisory Board and he has served as a member of the New Zealand, United Kingdom and European market research societies. He is also a member of the New Zealand Institute of Management.

Dick has been a long-time supporter of the Marketing Magazine Marketing Awards, and his company has been sponsor of the Colmar Brunton Consumer Services Award for a number of years.

John Macdonald

Walk down almost any supermarket aisle or turn on the TV for the news, preceded by Food in a Minute, and you’ll see John Macdonald’s lasting influence on grocery and on marketing.

He is considered one of the true giants of New Zealand FMCG, able to move comfortably back and forth from agency to client roles and best known as the Wattie’s marketing guru, the man who kept ‘Wattie’s’ New Zealand’s number-one brand over a number of years.

His career in mainstream marketing began when he moved from being an advertising account manager at Charles Haines to become a product manager at Reckitt & Colman. Durfing 18 years at Reckitt & Colman including a couple of years in the United Kingdom, he rose to head up the marketing for Reckitt’s food, household, pharmaceutical and toiletries divisions then the position as group sales and marketing director.

There followed a brief spell back in advertising agencies, firstly as managing director of McCann’s Singapore, then back to New Zealand as chairman of Mattingly, before he was headhunted to be marketing director for J Wattie Foods.

During his 10 years at Wattie’s John was initially responsible for all canned food ranges and sat on the J Wattie board as marketing executive reporting to CEO David Irving. With change of ownership to Heinz Wattie’s, John’s roles expanded to include leading the team to acquire brands such as Nuture from Boots, Craigs from Kraft and Eta mayonnaise from Griffins.

Some of John’s highlights at Heinz Wattie’s include: the development and launch of pasta sauces, taking Wattie’s to brand leadership; helping develop pouch-packing technology for soups and sauces to serve the local and Japanese markets; launching added-value brands like Wattie’s ‘Bit on the Side’ premium sauces; and extending Wattie’s tomato technology and expertise into a wider and new range of products.

John had the foresight to convince Wattie’s marketing teams to go with the Food in a Minute concept which after eight years continues to be a marketing winner for Heinz Wattie’s.

According to John, his overall marketing role when arriving at Wattie’s, was to ensure the Wattie’s brand remained New Zealand’s number-one brand. Ten years later when he left the company, the brand was still at the top.

Retiring from Heinz Wattie’s three years ago has only meant John has become busier, developing major marketing programmes for Goodman Fielder – the Edmonds Cooking Class series, Telstra Clear – the Better Business series, and BrandWorld – the Eating Well series.

He has continued to give back to the marketing industry over the years serving as president of GMA for four years, presiding as convenor of judges for the Marketing Magazine Marketing Awards and giving his time to address numerous marketing functions.

John continues to motivate the widest range of marketing practitioners, from past colleagues to new marketing aspirants, with his ideas, experience and willingness to contribute.


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