Wahaca Head of Marketing: Advertising Should Be About More Than Just Sales
13 May, 2022
Wahaca's Head of Marketing, Ed Latham, sat down with MAD//Insight to discuss his thoughts on the industry and why marketers should use their influence to create a better world.
Wahaca's Head of Marketing, Ed Latham, will be one of the many great speakers at ProQuo AI's event, CHALLENGER: The Brand Marketing Forum later this month. Last week we sat down with him to chat all things marketing and why marketers must use their power to influence to change people's behaviours at scale for a better planet.
1. 2022 is the year of?
People getting together in person
2. Who is your hero from the marketing and advertising world? Why?
Ru Paul: Mama Ru demonstrates the joy of a clear effective message, consistency in repeatedly producing outstanding products, and standing out from the crowd, all while creating a space for a community to thrive that without her would be weaker, quieter and less powerful.
3. What was the last ad your saw that made you buy something? Why did it make you buy the product?
I’m in the middle of booking a holiday down to the South of France with a group of friends and the ad for Enterprise rent-a-car was at the right place at the right time, so I clicked & booked with them rather than anyone else.
4. What’s your all time favourite advert/campaign and why?
Burger King – Whopper Detour. It’s just so cheeky & hilarious & courageous to get people to go to McDonald’s to order a Whopper. Genius!
5. If you had to choose which one would it be - day WFH or day in the office?
I’m a people person: get me in the office!
6. What keeps you awake at night?
There’s really good evidence out there that advertising is bad for people and society: it makes us less happy (https://hbr.org/2020/01/advertising-makes-us-unhappy), reinforces negative stereotypes and is bad for the planet (https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200817-the-inequality-of-outdoor-advertising-exposure). Ouch. As someone that works in marketing, that’s pretty scary. The challenge that I pose to myself and my work is therefore how do I make sure that the work me & my team produce is providing some benefit to people, that it makes people’s days better and more fulfilling. It’s a tough brief that I’m striving for and I definitely don’t achieve it all the time, but that’s what good work looks like if you ask me.
7. 2022 is the year of the Metaverse, (apparently) - will you be an early adopter or a cynical onlooker?
At Wahaca we’re about bringing people together with conversation for starters in our restaurants, so it’s not a strategic fit or priority for me work wise. I try to spend more quality screen-free time when I’m not at work, so I might have a peek, but I’m not planning to dedicate too much time to it yet.
8. Which brand do you think has consistently produced the most effective advertising campaigns over the last 10 years?
10 years is a long time in the history of brands today with new entrants appearing in practically every industry disrupting the status quo. For me, effective advertising does the basics of growing awareness, differentiates from competitors and showing how a product solves a problem and at the same time does something good for the world. While I appreciate, as a marketer, the craft that goes into Cadbury’s Dairy Milk ads, what is more worthy of recognition is how companies like OddBox and Mindful Chef are changing people’s behaviours at scale, nudging people to make more planet-friendly, healthy choices. Neither OddBox nor Mindful Chef have been around for 10 years (yet), I’m sure they will be around for the next 10 years and building more brand advocates who fully believe in and support them on their journey.
9. What’s the biggest opportunity in marketing and advertising right now?
We can make our work count for more than just sales. The opportunity that we have is to steer advertising to represent more than brand metrics and sales metrics and instead lead as a group of thoughtful, intelligent powerful people steering businesses to make fairer, kinder, future thinking decisions. Collectively as marketers we have huge power to steer our suppliers and the economy towards a future which we aspire to live in.
10. Which (emerging) trend or innovation of 2021 will have the greatest impact on the industry and campaign effectiveness in 2022 and beyond?
Digital advertising is getting to grip with legislation changes and IOS and GA4 changes are going to require all of us to re-educate ourselves and upskill again. Working out what that really means for anyone doing paid digital advertising wanting to measure the effectiveness is going to continue to play out over the next 18 months and well beyond.
11. What’s your favourite brief you’ve worked on recently?
As of April 6th, it was a legal requirement for all restaurants over 250 employees to put calories on their menus. At Wahaca we know that while calories are important, they are a very blunt tool in measuring food and actually, the single biggest threat facing humanity and all beings on our planet right now is climate change. That’s why we briefed ourselves to add easy to understand planetary impact ratings onto our menu so that people who are thinking about the planetary impact of what they eat have got the information at their fingertips to make an informed decision. It’s gone live and now we’re waiting to see what the impact is, both in people’s decisions and for any future dishes we develop.
12. What would you most like to change about the ad industry?
The ad industry has an ‘audience’ focus as opposed to thinking of people as multifaceted, intelligent, thinking beings. The more we can shift the perspective away reducing people to an audience of eye balls, the better marketing can be. By advertising with compassion and care we can have a far greater impact.
13. What do you have planned for the rest of this year?
I’m really looking forward to telling more people about Wahaca putting carbon on our menus and learning from how that’s gone so far. I’m new to the hospitality industry so I’m excited about continuing to meet people and learn from what other brands are doing to challenge the status quo. In that same vein, coming up I’m joining Challenger ’22: The Brand Marketing Forum on 25th May exploring what effective marketing looks like today.
14. What’s one Marketing software that’s made your life easier?
Marketing is filled with so many tools and metrics. Pro Quo provides us with brand health data alongside the ability to ask specific questions about virtually anything, be that about our brand, the category, past experiences or future expectations.
Ed will be speaking at CHALLENGER ’22: The Brand Marketing Forum (powered by ProQuo AI) which is taking place on Wednesday 25th May. He'll be outlining how Wahaca is leading the way in becoming carbon neutral. The event will bring together marketers, comms pros and creatives for an unmissable evening of idea exchanges, networking drinks, and snacks with some of the fastest-growing brands in the UK. This year’s event, hosted at The Loading Bay, explores the topic of creative and marketing effectiveness, the holy grail for all brand marketers.