By Merv Unger
0602 – Advertising is the lifeblood of the news
media industry, so naturally, anyone with a sizeable budget tweaks our interest.
Like Netflix, for instance, with a $3 billion annual budget under the guidance of Kelly Bennett, its chief marketing officer. That makes his arguably one of the top advertising
jobs in the world.
So what makes Kelly Bennett so interesting? He was born and raised in Little Old Nanaimo.
Alec Scott did a feature recently in The Globe and Mail focusing on Bennett and his role with Netflix, and I’m borrowing little bits with a LINK to the original.
The story reveals that as chief marketing officer Kelly Bennett had one of the top jobs in the business and helped transform Netflix into a cultural phenomenon. Then he decided to leave at age 47 to
retire, leaving behind a $6.2 million salary in order to “be a better husband and father.” When he announced his decision in March to retire—walking away with $19 million in Netflix stock — he said he wanted to spend more time with
his family and “to contribute more to my community.”
After his announcement, he took off to Yosemite National Park, with Dominique and their kids (aged 11 to 17) to wrap his head around the implications of his decision.
what does the next episode in the Kelly Bennett show look like? "It's time for me to refocus,” he told Scott.
He has already accepted a seat on the board of the German e-fashion giant Zalando, and hopes to join the boards of a few non-profits,
particularly ones with environmental and educational missions. He even mused about teaching a marketing class at a local college. Though he's lectured in the past at Oxford and Stanford, and could probably land a more prestigious teaching gig, he'd prefer
to join the sort of place where kids without much money would study.
To quote Scott in the Globe, Netflix is an interesting success story.
“When Bennett joined the streaming company in 2012, it was on the brink of its second great
transformation. Five years earlier, it had pivoted from mailing out DVDs to streaming films and TV shows. Now, it was moving from streaming content produced by others to making its own. Through a combination of data, killer content and, yes, smart marketing,
Netflix quickly changed what we watched and how we watched it—much to the chagrin of traditional studios, movie-theatre chains and cable companies—and became an inextricable part of pop culture, first in North and Latin America, and then globally.
“In January 2016, Netflix began, overnight, to stream in 190 nations—every major market except China. Since then, it has gone from 25 million subscribers to approximately 150 million, and now has a market valuation of $150 billion U.S.
Hastings, Netflix’s cofounder, chair and CEO, says Bennett has played an invaluable role in driving that growth. He and his marketing team of 1,000 spread across the globe have helped persuade viewers, via billboards, ads, emails and social media, not
just to tune in to shows like House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black and Stranger Things, and movies like Roma, but to sign up for a monthly subscription in order to do so. And his team has done it in 20 languages”.
There’s tons and tons
of information about Netflix and Bennett’s influence in the company’s success, which you can read in Alex Scott’s story, but let’s get back to the personal side.
His grandfather worked in the forest industry, his mom was a letter
carrier and his dad a fireman.
The Globe story says Kelly was a hockey player with worldly ambitions. His older brother Shane remembers a map that hung on Kelly’s wall, stuck full of pins to mark all the places he wanted to go. “You
had this sense that he was going to get there,” says Shane. “He was always the first kid to try something—the first to have a skateboard, the first with whatever new trend.”
Shane has made his own mark – he’s the
district manager for Vancouver Island for London Drugs.
The full Globe story is available only by subscription however. You can find it HERE. –