QMAC & Campbell’s Aaron Nemoy and Jennifer Zakoor



Who: Jennifer Zakoor and Aaron Nemoy, both 23, Toronto

Why they’re a big deal: This year, Zakoor and Nemoy were on the judging panel for Campbell’s QMAC Challenge, coming full circle from where they were two short years ago. Both now assistant brand managers at Campbell’s (Zakoor on V8 and Nemoy on Chunky), the pair attended QMAC in 2007, where Zakoor was a finalist for the Challenge with a product innovation (aftershave) for Unilever’s Axe brand. Both were recruited by Campbell’s at the conference and quickly made their mark at the company.

Since arriving at Campbell’s, Zakoor has worked on new product launches such as V8 Soup and V-Fusion beverages. ‘What I love about working at Campbell’s is that you get iconic brands like V8, which is over 75 years old, and we are still putting lots of marketing efforts behind these brands to really increase the relevancy to consumers today,’ she says.

Besides working on Chunky-specific initiatives – like its ‘Most Valuable Coach (MVC)’ program, whereby coaches could be nominated for the title at http://chunky.ca/mvc‘ >Chunky.ca/mvc – Nemoy also led Campbell’s ‘Help Hunger Disappear’ program. Partnering with Food Banks Canada, they spelled out the word ‘hunger’ with 12,000 cans of tomato soup, which were then donated by pedestrians to raise awareness about food banks. The event took place in Toronto, and they’re doing it again this summer, expanding to include Vancouver and Montreal. ‘It’s been especially interesting to watch a company push out against a CSR focus in such a big way,’ he says.

Is there anything done in marketing circles that makes you mad?

Nemoy: We know that it’s so hard to break through the clutter in advertising these days, so if there’s something that frustrates me it’s seeing the constant failure to bring consumers into the brand and engage them. So with programs like the Chunky ‘MVC’ – build the infrastructure and let consumers create the content – watching it come into practice has been really insightful for me.

Zakoor: There’s a shift towards this younger generation to deliver against CSR, going green, things like health and wellness and diversity. So when we see ads with the same typical person in the spot and they don’t change it up and they’re not reflecting diversity, that’s something that companies should be doing.

Do you think brands that don’t keep up with CSR and diversity will be hurt by it in the end?

Zakoor: Definitely. I think it’s a responsibility now that companies have. It used to be that CSR was a ‘nice to have,’ a nice checkmark, and now their shareholders and consumers alike are expecting that. And there are tons of places that consumers are going to find out this information. With everything available online today, it’s more accessible than ever and there’s a need for companies to be transparent, but to also deliver against the authenticity of it.

Any advice for young people coming into the job market right now?

Nemoy: I know a number of students that are struggling. I think it requires patience, and it requires a really conscious effort to be making connections. That’s one thing that QMAC is really helpful for, just making those connections and keeping in touch because we will weather this economic storm – and at that point it’s all about who you know.

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