What the departure of CMO Antonio Lucio means for Facebook

“I entered with my eyes wide open. I knew it was a challenge, ”said Antonio Lucio during assume the role of Facebook Marketing Director. After two years at a company that rarely makes headlines, that might be an understatement. The marketing veteran has now announced he is leaving the social giant to spend the twilight of his career promoting “diversity, inclusion and fairness” in the advertising industry.

Lucio, formerly of HP, Visa and PepsiCo, joined the group just six months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal that shattered trust and ‘connected’ many users to Facebook wondering how lax he was with their data.

Electoral interference, misinformation issues and faulty metrics were some of the other issues that colored Facebook’s reputation that Lucio had to navigate during his tenure. “Restoring trust is going to take time. Restoring trust is going to require concrete and strong actions,” he told The Drum in 2019, admitting that “it will by no means be an overnight turnaround.”

Describing his playbook for the role, Lucio said, “The reason I joined is because I was able to perceive between Mark [Zuckerberg] and Sheryl [Sandberg] and senior members of the company the need for change and they spoke about solving our fundamental issues around election interference, disinformation, privacy and data management. “

Illustrating that there is still work to be done in this regard, Lucio leaves following the July advertiser boycott which saw more than 1,000 brands temporarily abandon the platform on its policies of hate speech and disinformation. Yet despite this high-profile revolt, Facebook’s own marketing, especially to small businesses, continues to be largely effective in gaining business. His latest financial data saw revenue growth of 11% in the second quarter, despite the boycott, with SMEs continuing to account for the bulk of ad spend on the platform.

The drum reflects on Lucio’s production.

Lucio’s legacy

  • Lucio’s mission was to tell “the story of Facebook’s brands, products and services in a more transparent way”. One of his most important movements was to restructure a list of agencies which reads like a who’s who of the biggest names in the industry – Wieden + Kennedy, Leo Burnett from Publicis, Ogilvy from WPP, BBDO from Omnicom and Droga5 from Accenture.

  • It rolled out new corporate brands and a new logo at the end of 2019. This new branding was applied to sister apps like WhatsApp, Oculus, Instagram, Messenger and Hardware Portal ahead of the anti-competitive narrative calling for their break-up. .

  • Recent marketing campaigns include ‘Never lost‘and’Born in quarantine‘but most famous in February 2020, he pushed his The groups feature in his first Super Bowl commercial.

And after?

  • Lucio’s work is not done and Facebook has a CMO-shaped hole to fill at this vital crossroads in its history. He must continue the marketer’s mission of “transparency” to show that he is tackling hatred and disinformation fueled by his algorithms, especially in the run-up to a divisive US election. To this end, it has recently increased its community application reports and showed how he behaved during the pandemic.

  • As he left and his next steps, Lucio said it was “a moment for the nation and my industry”, adding: “It has been a very difficult year for all and a particularly reflective year for me, after the death of my mother before confinement. “

  • He said he was “grateful to Mark [Zuckerberg] for her curiosity, support and commitment, and for always listening even when we didn’t agree. I believe in Facebook’s mission, and Covid-19 has demonstrated the best of platforms. As the business evolves, finding the right balance between preserving free speech and eliminating hate speech on platforms is a defining issue for the generation that must continue to be addressed. I know that the company and its leaders agree on the centrality of this important task.

  • Lucio’s new and possibly “final chapter” is about helping ad land solve its diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

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