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Welcome, Kellogg's EVP Global Business Director Matt Scholes

Matt Scholes has joined Burnett’s global Kellogg’s team as executive vice president, worldwide account director. Matt joins us from across the pond at McCann Worldgroup in London where he was a global account director for Nestle. Prior to McCann, Matt led JWT’s Kellogg’s business globally from London. He also served as managing director of JWT Canada, where he worked to make the agency the most recognized office in the JWT network. Matt brings his expertise to Burnett through his work with blue chip clients such as Unilever, Pfizer and Boots, Britain’s leading pharmacy. Not doubt it was a pleasure to meet and chat with the humorous and passionate, Matt Scholes:

Please state your name and title.
Hi, I’m Matt Scholes and I’ve joined Burnett as EVP Global Business Director looking after our Kellogg client.

Chicago is a little different from London. How do you like the Midwest?
Well it’s November and so far no rain, which wouldn’t happen in London. In fact it’s been so sunny and warm I’m beginning to think all this talk about the Chicago winter is just a way of discouraging too many foreigners from coming and taking over this great city.

I’ve visited Chicago many times in the past and always thought it was the one US city I could see myself living in. I’m loving the shorter commute, the architecture, the waterfront, the fact that stores are still open past 6 pm, the fact that you don’t need a small mortgage to take a taxi, etc. I am looking forward to visiting London as a tourist!

So you’ve only been here for a few days, but what’s your favorite thing about Burnett?
Without a doubt Rosa Rodriguez, my assistant (hopefully that will buy me some credit when I need stuff doing later). Otherwise I’ve been really charmed by the friendliness of everyone and the lengths the agency has gone to to help me settle in to the job and the city too.

You’ll be in charge of the Global Kellogg’s account. Being from London, is it safe to say that you prefer Crunchy Nut?
Actually they don’t make my all-time favourite cereal (Golden Oatmeal Crisp) anymore. Kellogg’s de-listed it in 1998 when they realised I was the only person in the country eating it. These days I do like Special K, but sadly my waistline seems immune to the brand purpose.

What do you like about the Kellogg’s brand?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the world’s greatest companies; Procter, Mars, Nestle and Unilever but the thing I always felt about Kellogg’s was that they really were partners.  Kellogg’s taught me more about business than anything I learned at school or even at my former agencies. They bring you right into the heart of their company and share pretty much everything with you – not many clients do that. They are also just a good bunch of people, many of whom I became friends with and stayed in touch with even when I was not working with the company any more.

Where do you go for inspiration?
 Depending on my mood, music or a nice bottle of Laphroaig scotch (sometimes both together).

What living creative person do you most admire and why?
Sadly the two I would put at the top have both passed away in recent times. As a frustrated jazz pianist my all time hero was Oscar Peterson – he made the impossible sound easy as all masters of their craft do. And Steve Jobs for his ridiculously good instinct and for having the courage of his convictions.

What’s the most overrated part of this business?
Talking (instead of listening).

Tissue sessions; they’re seductive but dangerous if overused. When you’re cooking a souffle it’s not a good idea to open the oven door every 5 minutes to check how things are going.

Constant tweaking (sorry, “enhancement”) instead of giving work a chance to find its feet in the marketplace. Some of the greatest campaigns had slow starts.

And tight black clothing – especially when worn by middle-aged men who should know better.

If you weren’t in advertising, what would you be doing?
Playing the piano in a cruise ship bar, reeking of scotch and wondering where it all went wrong.

What’s your favorite campaign of all time — and why?
Impossible question.  If we’re talking about a single ad then maybe the Guardian “skinhead” for its intelligence, simplicity and total understanding of its core target audience.  Also the Hamlet “Photo Booth” spot never ceases to delight.

When judging a campaign I’m looking more at the core idea; it’s clarity, it’s ability to stay fresh and surprising while remaining true to an underlying story; how well it inspires work in different channels; how effectively it can stretch to accommodate all the client’s needs (news, promotions etc); and of course brand recognition. On that basis I would say De Beers “Diamond Is Forever” has been a monster campaign, Kit Kat’s “Have a Break” must be doing something right after 50 plus years, and the Axe campaign also would score highly for me.

Looking back on your career so far, what’s your proudest accomplishment?
When measuring success you have to look at the whole picture – where you started from, degree of difficulty involved etc. So I would have to say that the unlikeliest triumph was getting an incredibly conservative and nervous Warner Lambert client in Canada to buy some Halls Mentholyptus work which went on to win a Cannes Lion. Watching her transform into a rock’n'roll client within her organisation was a real joy.