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Marketing Leaders from Airbnb, Gatorade, Denny's, Frito-Lay, Viking River Cruises and Wiley Win Cojones Awards at Fourth Annual Event Hosted by nFusion During SXSW

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Mar 13, 2017) - Marketing leaders from Airbnb, Gatorade, Denny's, Frito-Lay, Viking River Cruises and Wiley were named the 2017 Cojones Awards winners. Members of the class of 2017 were presented their awards during SXSW Interactive at an event hosted by nFusion, an Austin-based demand generation agency, and supported by Datorama and Cvent. The finalists and winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from ANA, AMA, The CMO Club, Forbes CMO Network, Forrester, Spencer Stuart and TD Ameritrade. The complete list of judges and honorees can be found at http://info.nfusion.com/cojones.

The Cojones Awards celebrate the boldest modern marketers who have the courage to disrupt the status quo. "The pressure on marketing leaders today to grow their brands and transform their organizations is intense. The Cojones Awards honorees distinguished themselves as change agents who had the guts to be disruptive and positively impact their businesses," said John Ellett, the awards event hosts, nFusion CEO and author of The CMO Manifesto.

Winners were presented in five categories. The 2017 recipients were:

Inspire: to build authentic brands with a sense of purpose

Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO, Airbnb - Mildenhall had the courage to bring the Airbnb brand purpose to life in inspiring ways including one of the most discussed commercials during this year's Super Bowl. Airbnb mission is to "live in this world where one day you can feel like you're home anywhere and not in a home, but truly home, where you belong" and Mildenhall's programs delivered.

Be Bold: to disrupt the status quo and break out of the sea of sameness (Co-winners)

Jennifer Saenz, CMO, Frito-Lay - Saenz has guided the creation of bold marketing programs including launching Cheetos novelty gifts at Christmas, creating Doritos "No Choice" program with Rock The Vote and shifting Tostito's Super Bowl participation from TV to a social media collaboration with MADD.

John Dillon, CMO, Denny's - Dillon has continued to make Denny's "America's Diner," introducing higher quality breakfast items including cage-free eggs and a new pancake recipe. Under his leadership, Denny's has created unique video content, including an animated YouTube series "The Grand Slams" to build a strong social media following among Millennials.

Connect: to deliver meaningful customer experiences across channels

Richard Marnell, SVP Marketing, Viking River Cruises - Marnell actively uses data-driven insights to connect with the unique interests of potential travelers. By developing engaging content including videos, digital ads and customer-generated social media, he delivers relevant messages in the appropriate media.

Innovate: to implement new ways of engaging customers living in a digital lifestyle

Kenny Mitchell, Head of Consumer Engagement, Gatorade - Mitchell leveraged the brand's involvement with the NBA and basketball fans to launch a unique Snapchat "slam dunk" app that generated 145 million views. To say thank you to one of Gatorade's endorsed athletes, Peyton Manning upon his retirement, Mitchell created a heartwarming TV spot and then leveraged it through experiential activities.

Transform: to build organizational capabilities to become modern marketers

Clay Stobaugh, CMO, Wiley - Stobaugh's mission has been to transform a publishing company founded in 1807 into a modern digital company. The company is nearly out of the printed books business yet continues to thrive in educational content. It is now a 70% digital company. He also retooled a global marketing organization and created an internal awards program that uses external "best practices" benchmarks and an independent jury to recognize and reward marketing change.

The winners were announced at a private reception Saturday, March 11 in Austin, Texas in The CMO Club's Clubhouse at the W Hotel.

nFusion is a demand generation agency that partners with bold technology marketers to accelerate growth. By developing customer insights, executing performance media and creating compelling content, the Austin-based firm has helped companies like Google, Samsung, Sandisk, Sitecore and Q2ebanking achieve break-through results. nFusion is proud to have been recognized by Ad Age as a Small Agency of the Year in 2014 and winner of a Gold Effie in 2015. Agency website.