CMO 50: Fernando Machado

Chief marketing officer, Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard scored a big marketing hire when it nabbed former Restaurant Brands International (RBI) chief marketing officer Fernando Machado to lead marketing for the gaming company in April. Activision won over a league of new gamers in the pandemic as people traded IRL interaction with virtual worlds, increasing revenue 25% to $8.1 billion. It plans to keep the momentum rolling post-pandemic with a slate of new titles and a marketing powerhouse.

Machado made a name for himself during his seven-year tenure at RBI, where he joined in 2014 as Burger King’s head of brand marketing. In 2017 he was promoted to chief marketing officer, where he oversaw marketing for Burger King, Popeyes and Tim Hortons. Machado became known for his innovative, yet risky, marketing campaigns and stunts. In 2020, he spearheaded the award-winning Moldy Whopper campaign, which showed a whopper growing green with mold to represent the chain’s commitment to natural ingredients. 

Machado also spearheaded Whopper Detour, a geotargeting stunt that gave customers who went near a McDonald’s location a coupon for a one-cent Whopper via the Burger King app, and Home of the Whopper, which included a TV spot that activated consumers’ Google Home devices. In April, Machado dabbled in the esports space by spearheading an in-game basketball court that rewarded gamers with free menu items — a precursor to his gig at Activision. 

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