McColl, who spent 24 years at Mars, has a long history with the school and its core philosophy of evidence-based marketing. While at Mars, he became a corporate sponsor and advisory board member of the institute, and even helped establish the Mars Marketing Science Laboratory.
McColl, 54, instituted many of the core tenets of evidence-based marketing at Mars, which include minimizing package redesigns, creating fewer websites and producing fewer but better ads that air for longer periods.
"The kind of experience Bruce has is unique, he’s seen great changes in the industry, and is a leader in the application of scientific knowledge to marketing practice," said Professor Byron Sharp, director of the institute. "Corporate sponsors of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute as well as students will benefit from his experience in marrying creativity and science."
Named 2012 Cannes Advertiser of the Year, McColl was known for his outspoken support of creative agencies. In November 2015, McColl used a speech at the Australian Association of National Advertisers conference to criticize other brands for keeping their agencies in "creative imprisonment" by not paying them enough to hire the best people or giving them the freedom to produce their best work.
McColl oversaw the consolidation of Mars’ global business with Omnicom Group’s DDB (Skittles, Starburst, Juicy Fruit, Milky Way, Three Musketeers) and BBDO Worldwide (Snickers, Pedigree, Twix, M&Ms, Extra, Five, Orbit) and MediaCom. In 2015, the company was named Client of the Year at the One Show
McColl’s departure from Mars came amid a shakeup of the family-owned company’s marketing structure. In his place, former chief customer officer Andrew Clarke assumed the newly created role of chief marketing and customer officer. The new hybrid position was intended to bring the company’s sales, marketing and customer strategy functions into closer alignment, resulting in a more integrated approach to reaching consumers.