Aussie and Yum! global CEO Greg Creed began his presentation at the AANA RESET conference in Sydney by declaring his “objective was to be deliberately provocative”, and from there he didn’t disappoint.
Arguably one of Australia’s marketing gifts to the world, Creed heads Yum!’s three iconic brands – KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – that boasts 48,000 outlets in 145 countries around the globe.
Dispensing a career lifetime of advice (at 62, Creed has announced his retirement in 2020) he told the RESET audience – primarily marketers – that the best brands to work on were the ones no one was interested in because, often, the only way was up.
The now Dallas-based CEO started with a full-on attack on Australia’s boring “nanny state culture”.
“If you’re Australian, you’re like the animals on the coat of arms – the kangaroo and the emu – and you don’t take a backward step,” Creed declared.
“When I was in school, this is what it meant to be an Australian – you have to be bold and daring and aggressive and all those sorts of things.
“But fast forward to 2019 and we’ve become a nanny state. This is as boring a place… but driving at 60 k/ph is an indication, not an absolute, right?
“I’ve probably got 140 speeding tickets just for doing 61 in a 60 zone.
“And my favourite is you can only get a glass of wine with this much in it (shows three thumb-fulls), and if I pour two glasses into one glass then the bartender goes bat shit.
“If you think Australians get invited to parties because we’re [a] big [country], we have lots of people and make [brands] lots of money… No! They invite us because we’re bold and courageous and daring and do things that no one is game to do. But we’ve truly lost it and I think we’ve just become boring!”
And, he added: “Who wants on their tombstone ‘here was average’? No one!”
When it came to marketing, Creed declared too many people in the industry had made something that should be simple overly complicated.
In a cheeky dig, he cited other RESET speakers from the morning’s presentations that had delivered erudite presentations that had most probably baffled most of the audience.
“Yum!’s in 140 countries, we have these three global iconic brands, we’ve got 2000 marketers who work at Yum! and I honestly believe that marketing was not meant to be this complicated,” Creed railed.
“I believe we need to keep it simple, evolve, then you are going to be successful.
“There are so many books that marketers are told to read on how to be a great marketer and, I’m not saying Byron Sharp’s books aren’t good, but someone says it’s all about reach, someone says it’s all about frequency, and someone says it’s all about something else… there are about 1000 things,” Creed yelled.