Activision Blizzard CMO Fernando Machado is departing the video games giant after two years to spearhead marketing at NotCo, a Chilean food technology startup focused on plant-based offerings, according to a press release.
Machado starts in his new role in April as NotCo steps up efforts in the business-to-business arena. The executive will oversee integrated marketing teams spread across 10 countries and was praised in the release as pushing the creative boundaries of marketing.
As NotCo seeks to expand its client roster and consumer-facing profile, Machado could be a powerful addition. The executive is well-decorated for his past work at Burger King, and later, the fast-food chain’s parent organization, Restaurant Brands International (RBI). Machado’s output has frequently taken big swings, such as a Burger King spot that sparked controversy for hijacking Google Home devices via voice commands. The disruptive campaign secured the top creative award at Cannes Lions, adland’s Oscars equivalent.
After seven years under the RBI banner, Machado jumped to developer Activision Blizzard in April 2021. The “Call of Duty” and “Diablo” developer has been plagued by scandal in recent years, with heavy criticism for its handling of widespread sexual harassment allegations and intense development cycles that led to what’s known as “crunch” in the video games industry.
NotCo in December closed a $70 million funding round to support its enterprise platform, which centers on an artificial intelligence program called Giuseppe. The solution analyzes animal-based foods, like milk or beef, to identify key aspects of smell, taste and texture and help consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands and suppliers generate convincing plant-based alternatives. The latest financing brought NotCo’s valuation to $1.5 billion, while AI has become one of the hottest investment areas in 2023.
NotCo’s current portfolio features NotMilk, NotBurger, NotMeat, NotIceCream and NotChicken options that are marketed and sold in over 10,000 retail stores around the U.S., including Whole Foods Market, Stop & Shop and Kroger. Founded in 2015, the startup has attracted the interest of major CPG customers.
Earlier this month, Kraft Heinz released a NotMayo mayonnaise substitute in collaboration with NotCo in a handful of markets, following up on Kraft-branded NotCheese slices that debuted in October. International NotCo partners include Burger King, Shake Shack, Starbucks and Dunkin’.