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Diageos Syl Saller delivers keynote address at Amplify festival

Diageo's Syl Saller delivers keynote address at Amplify festival

 August 28, 2018

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The Amplify marketing festival hosted by the Marketing Society was held for the eighth consecutive year as part of the 2018 Edinburgh Festival. 

Syl Saller, CMO for Diageo and President of the Marketing Society, along with Gráinne Wafer, global brand director for Bailey's, were thrilled to deliver the keynote presentation for the annual Ogilvy lecture. The lecture pays tribute to David Ogilvy, Founder of Ogilvy & Mather — one of the biggest advertising networks in the world. 

A strong voice for women in advertising

Syl and Gráinne, two inspiring senior female marketing leaders, discussed the way women should be represented in advertising in a progressive, inclusive and authentic way. They also covered issues such as unconscious bias and the culture surrounding creative development.

Syl focussed on the role marketers can play in shaping culture and be a catalyst for social change. Also what it takes to be a bolder leader of change and why more than ever the time for change is now. Syl provided a strong call-to-action for advertisers to use their power to challenge unconscious bias.

Diageo Syl Saller  in the drinks industry

An impressive marketing career

Before Syl Saller was appointed CMO, she was Diageo’s Global Innovation Director, responsible for Diageo’s innovation strategy including all new product development, launch programmes and R&D worldwide. Prior to that, Syl was Marketing Director for Diageo Great Britain.

A graduate of Harvard Business School, Syl had her sights on Harvard at the age of 10. She explains in her interview with the Marketing Society, "When I was there, HBS ran a “look to your left, look to your right, one of you won’t be here” system, and because I had no business experience, and was a state school grad, I thought for sure that would be me. I was convinced I’d be way behind the room full of consultants, investment bankers, and accountants. I wasn’t. From this, I learned never to doubt my intellectual capabilities, which frees me up enormously to ask really stupid questions. In doing that, you learn faster, and sometimes it helps people who are missing the obvious." 

Advice for young marketers 

"My advice to young marketers is that it’s all about a growth mindset and optimism," says Syl. "Without a doubt, young marketers have a lot to contend with. We operate in a highly volatile world, the media mix is unbelievably complex and we are all under pressure to deliver growth and expand our margins. But even in this context, I’d tell young marketers to relax more, worry less and focus on learning. Worrying does nothing but drain energy when you need it the most. Samuel Becket said it best - “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Diageo Syl Saller Harvard

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