Jesse Johnson has joined Dallas-based restaurant company Brinker International Inc. as vice president of marketing, a newly created role at the company.
Johnson will develop and execute marketing strategies for Chili’s Grill & Bar and bring the brand to life across multiple touchpoints, including advertising, media, PR, and the guest experience, the company said.
“As we look to be more commercially aggressive, Jesse’s expertise and passion for building culturally relevant brands will be a driving force in putting Chili’s back in the cultural zeitgeist,” George Felix, Chili’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “What gets me even more excited is the fact that he’s a servant leader, has a passion for coaching, and my belief that he will be a great fit and addition to our ChiliHead culture.”
Brinker said that Johnson is an accomplished brand director with more than 16 years of experience.
He spent much of his career at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) leading award-winning marketing initiatives and campaigns for top brands such as Procter & Gamble, Nike Golf, and KFC, including the highly acclaimed “Return of Colonel Sanders” campaign, Brinker said.
While at W+K, Johnson managed client relationships and leveraged his strategic vision for creative evolution to support the agency’s growth and business development through his campaign work. Most recently, he served as the director of growth and helped drive significant growth of W+K’s social arm, Bodega, in Portland, Oregon.
“I have a deep-rooted love for the Chili’s brand, and I can’t wait to work with our marketing and leadership teams, as well as our Team Members, to elevate Chili’s prominence,” Johnson said in a statement. “I’m excited to use my brand strategy and creative background to help Chili’s disrupt the casual dining space.”
In 2018, Ad Age named Johnson “Account Director of the Year” and named KFC’s campaign “Campaign of the Year.” Johnson also led the development of P&G’s globally acclaimed “Proud Sponsor of Moms” Olympic campaign for the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, which earned an Emmy, Gold Effie and six Gold Lions.
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