Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Revved-Up Pioneer - Dominic Chambers, Head of Brand and Marketing Communications, Vodafone

Magazine article Marketing

Profile: Revved-Up Pioneer - Dominic Chambers, Head of Brand and Marketing Communications, Vodafone

Article excerpt

It is as well that avid Formula One fan Dominic Chambers is fond of cars, because he gets to spend plenty of time in them during his daily two-hour commute between home, in London's Barnes, and work, at Vodafone's headquarters in Newbury, Berkshire.

Fittingly for this petrolhead, Chambers is responsible for Vodafone's sponsorship of the McLaren Mercedes F1 team, which has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to the unprecedented success of young British driver Lewis Hamilton.

Despite being more than 20 years older than the F1 star, Chambers is said to share certain character traits with the current championship leader. 'He's calm under pressure, unassuming and likes causing a stir,' says Ben Fennell, managing director of the mobile operator's ad agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. 'There is absolutely no ego or bullshit with Dominic.'

This is perhaps unusual for a man at the helm of the world's biggest mobile brand. As well as overseeing Vodafone's sponsorships, which include the UEFA Champions League and the England cricket team, Chambers has pounds 75m at his disposal for his brand to convince consumers to shun Orange, O2 or T-Mobile.

'I have one of the best marketing communications roles in the UK,' he asserts, without looking up from the prompts scrawled on his notepad. 'When I joined, Vodafone had been treading water for a while. I needed to get it back up to full strength and competing effectively.'

To help achieve this, Chambers orchestrated an overhaul of Vodafone's agency roster just weeks after stepping into his role in 2005. He ditched JWT in favour of BBH and briefed the agency to breathe new life into the brand. He also handed its pounds 15m digital brief to Dare as part of a strategy to give online advertising a central role on the brand's media schedule. 'I live for big changes and initiatives that require me to work flat-out for the first three months,' he says, coolly. 'I'd hate to have a job that was the same all year and didn't have any crescendos.'

Like the majority of F1 drivers, Chambers manages to marry a calm, measured and often detached exterior with an underlying desire to push the boundaries, which is as well, as he's in charge at a crucial time for Vodafone.

It has just launched a pounds 16m ad campaign positioning the brand as a mobile internet provider. …

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