Get to Know Saul Betmead de Chasteigner

CMO of United Nations World Food Programme

Saul made the transition out of the agency world to be the most senior marketer at the United Nations World Food Programme, the world’s largest humanitarian organisation which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020. His ambition is to create a brand worthy of the amazing organisation, its impact and its people.   Prior to joining the UN, he was Chief Strategy Officer for VMLY&R in EMEA and CSO WPP special projects.   At VMLY&R he sat on the Global Executive board, Global Creative Board and Global Strategy Board.   He co-authored the 2016 D&AD, Multiple Cannes Grand Prix winning McWhopper idea for Burger King, the 2015 Cannes Media Grand Prix, Global WARC Innovation winning ‘Red Light’ idea for Vodafone Turkey, and most recently the Cannes Glass Grand Prix 2019 & Cannes Titanium 2019 winning Last Ever Issue,   2019 also saw him give his first TedX talk, where he explored ‘What makes a great idea?’, graduate from Oxford University with a Masters in Strategy & innovation and marry the love of his life (hence the slightly unwieldy new second name).

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are now

Born and bred in Cambridge, UK. Studied Psychology and kind of stumbled into advertising after realising pure psychology wasn’t for me. Spent 10 years in Australia where a significant amount of that time was spent in the Surf Life Saving Movement. After returning to Europe, became CSO of VMLY&R EMEA and then later made the transition to UN. My much better half is French, hence slightly unwieldy double barreled second name.


What’s your personal philosophy on marketing?

Brand: A brand needs to find its conviction: For (audience), In a world where (what’s wrong); The future must (vision of what future looks like), So we do (actual behaviour, not rhetoric). I always found this framework useful for the delicate balance between tangibility and foresight.

Comms: Does it emotion induce? Does it truth generate? Does it story launch?


What has been your WFH “office” set-up?

Mac, Airpods and lots of coffee in either Rome or Biarritz.


If you could describe your day-to-day at work in 3 words, what would they be?

Inspiring. Humbling. Diverse.


How has the role of the CMO changed since you assumed your position? 

The CMO position is new to UNWFP. So, it’s been a case of re looking at the basics – target audience definitions, customer journeys, brand model design, setting up partnerships to help engage and making best use of opportunities as they come.


What has been your biggest challenge in your role so far? How did you overcome it?

Dealing with the nuanced geo-political realities of our vast operations. Solution: Listen, learn, make fast decisions in an informed way. Repeat.


What changes do you see in the future of marketing? How are you adapting?

We live in a golden age of marketing, where we cannot just show/talk about brand promises, about products and services, but now augment them and create new ones entirely. That’s both very exciting but it also means marketing has a great deal more responsibility for the future of the organisations it serves.

That’s one of the reasons I chose to do a Masters in Strategy and Innovation at Oxford, I realised I needed skills above and beyond marketing to ensure I can keep being useful into the future.

Your comment will appear on this page upon moderator's approval