Staff Reporters
Jun 29, 2020

Asia-Pacific Power List 2020: Manuel Arroyo, Coca Cola

Enduring a baptism by fire in the middle of a pandemic, the Asia-based global marketing chief has tried to build a more empathetic brand for the beverage giant.

Asia-Pacific Power List 2020: Manuel Arroyo, Coca Cola
Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers

Manuel Arroyo

Global CMO and president of the Asia Pacific group

Two years after it contentiously did away with the CMO role, beverage giant Coca-Cola resurrected the position and appointed Manuel Arroyo, a company veteran and former head of its Mexican business, to the post. Arroyo, who has spent the better part of two decades with the company—albeit with two brief breaks in between—also heads the firm’s Asia Pacific unit and is based in Singapore.

Today, Arroyo, whose first job was setting up and running a ski school, runs integrated global marketing, which includes teams for creative, category, marketing operations, design and knowledge and insights. He is also responsible for operations in the Asia Pacific group’s five business units, along with the company’s Bottling Investments Group, which is primarily focused on key markets in Southeast and Southwest Asia.

As the company’s global marketing chief, Arroyo faced a baptism by fire. Weeks into his job, the pandemic took hold and saw the company pause marketing spend and can its financial forecasts entirely. On June 27, the company announced it was pausing spend on social media over hate speech concerns.  

Instead, Arroyo has gone from focusing on campaigns such as Unite and Uplift (and an evolution Better When We’re Open) to instill some fresh purpose in its marketing strategy. In December 2019, it had launched a six-month trial of its subscription service in North America, with consumers getting an early taste of beverages in the pipeline.

Along the way, Arroyo has led a team that has devised some uplifting campaigns in The Philippines, a simple demonstration of the brand’s strength in Poland and an ode to humanity in India, penned by McCann Worldgroup Asia Chairman Prasoon Joshi.

As the world has locked down due to the pandemic, Coca-Cola has spent over $100 million on an assortment of initiatives to help stricken communities weather this storm. As the Asia head and CMO, Arroyo has led the way, by teaming up with #beapp to stream music from 100 artists across 60 days, devising digital ads to display messages of hope and working with Red Cross and Red Crescent to provide gear to 60 countries, in association with the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Asia-Pacific’s 50 most influential and purposeful marketers


Campaign Asia

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