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Marketing Game Changers 2023: Richard Billington, SVP Global Brand and Marketing, Emirates Airline

Marketing Game Changers is back, to recognise and celebrate those brand-building marketing leaders who have made a huge impact this year.

This exclusive list features the men and women who we feel have shaped our industry this year, and includes a wide array of brands, campaigns and their achievements.

The prestigious top 10 includes four women, three Saudibased brands, an abundance of creativity, plus a strong focus on sustainability.


SVP Global Brand and Marketing at Emirates Airline
Years in current position: Coming up to 5
Years with current company: Nearly 9. I was on a consultancy deal before I joined permanently
Size of department: 50 something on my team. Department is around 250

What is your objective in your current role?

I try and keep Emirates top of mind around the world through stylish advertising messages. To remind people that they will get a better flying experience rather than with other airlines.

What is your guiding principle?

Is it right for Emirates? Is it good enough?

Who inspires you professionally?

The team of young people who work around me. It’s nice to go to an office full of people that you like and there’s no BS between us.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing at the moment?

For Emirates there are different challenges in every market. Many are quite unique from each other, so whilst we plan centrally from Dubai, we still need to look at more regional and bespoke campaigns like in China for instance and North America over the next year.

There’s something always going on in some part of the world every single day and that’s what makes it so fascinating working for a truly global brand.

What is the next big opportunity?

I don’t know about opportunity as our commercial department dictates the business objectives and we are there to support.

But we will have delivery next year of the new A350, so over time and as we receive more of them, this will open new markets for us and we will grow accordingly. It will be nice to launch a new aircraft though.

What can we expect to see from you and your brand in the next year?

Well we had covid and you know what that did to the airline business, so from a paid media perspective we stopped for a long time. We’ve only recently come back on a large scale with our Penelope Cruz campaign and the ‘Don’t just fly, fly better’ sport ads.

Seeing ‘Emirates Fly Better’ all over the world through our sports partnerships is quite amazing, but my job is to tell more stories and create imagery that explains it a lot more than what a football shirt can do. So more of the same really.

What’s the next big opportunity?

I suppose one key objective would be to find better outside creative support.

It’s been difficult and that’s why the majority of our work has been done in-house. However, we have so many group brands it would be good to get some creative grown-ups in the room with us.