Vice President, Global Advertising Strategy and Content Excellence
The Coca-Cola Company
Jonathan Mildenhall joined The Coca-Cola Company in December 2006 and is responsible for leading global creative vision and strategy for the Company’s portfolio of global brands. In his role, Jonathan oversees marketing communications strategies, core creative idea development and content production.
A self-proclaimed “diagonal” thinker – someone who excels at both left and right brain thinking – Jonathan has a big passion for popular culture in addition to a passion for business strategy. In 2007 Jonathan was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Manchester Metropolitan University. Jonathan lives in Atlanta with his partner Mirco, a Human Resources professional.
1.What do you do?
I am head of global advertising at Coke. I love.
2. What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your occupation?
I get to work with some of the world's most talented creative minds and apply them to some of the world's most powerful brands. I learn constantly.
3. What’s the secret of your success?
I constantly re-stage and upgrade my ambitions for our brands. I am only interested in developing the world's most compelling content. I try to be a great partner at all times. I try to keep things brutally simple.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have shaken hands with?
Dr Martin Luther King or Queen Elizabeth I
5. Which living person do you most admire?
My mother. Then my mother. Followed by my mother.
6. What brand can you not live without?
7. What has been your biggest failure?
I haven't yet cracked the creative code on Sprite.
8. Who or what inspires you?
The voice of Whitney Houston.
9. What is it that you most dislike?
Bright people who make things complex. Creative people who make things dull. Processes that do both.
10. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Keeping a sense of honesty, humility, integrity in a world that works against such core values most of the time.
11. How must our industry change?
We must become more dynamic, more innovative, more disruptive, more open, we must share thought-ware more frequently, we must develop new measurement methods, we must remain confident in our value and, finally, we must encourage individual characters to develop.
12. What work are you most jealous of?
Er, Heineken and bloody Nike – WIEDEN+KENNEDY
13. What are you optimistic about?
My love for Mirco, my heaven.
14. What difference do you want to make?
I want to write books on the power of creativity. I want to inspire people to dream and help them realize their dreams. I want to be studied in the classroom. I want to help make people happy.
15. Who is your favorite hero from fiction?
James in A Million Little Pieces
16. Where is there room for improvement?
I am a work in progress. Personally and professionally. I have to constantly improve. All aspects of my intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social and creative self. I stop improving only when I die.
17.What fascinates you?
Ideas. Creativity. Energy. Emotions. Female voices. Pregnant women. Stories.
18. What’s your most hard-won piece of wisdom?
“Jonathan, you will never get into advertising. Advertising is a white, middle-class industry. They only recruit from Oxbridge” said my careers counsellor at Manchester Poly in 1988.
19.What’s the most exciting piece of culture you’ve come across recently?
The Sundance Film Festival. I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in a panel discussion there. The people I met, the work I saw, the ideas I will realize, quite frankly blew my mind.
20.What are you reading?
Out Of Our Minds – Sir Ken Robinson. I want to grow up to be Sir Ken.
21. What keeps you up at night?
I have been given such a tremendous gift. I mean I get to play on this amazing stage, with some amazing people and do work that truly makes a difference all over the world. I lay awake thinking, shit, there is so much to do and I have only just begun. An opportunity I will not waste.
22. What does the future look like?
A house in Ibiza, an apartment in London, Mirco, my friends, my mum and Brian (they will always be inside of me) and lots of invitations to help people figure shit out.
23. What part of the internet can you not live without?
Currently Spotify. It has transformed my relationship with music. Although, at the same time taken a little bit of dollar value out of the industry as I buy a fraction of what I used to. I am concerned about that in the long term.
24. What is your motto?
Never give up. And. I love you shithead.
25. What do you most want?
Good health for all those I love. If you have good health you can figure out everything else.