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Sophie Russell-Brain (BA Hons Advertising and Marketing Communications, 2008)

Brand Manager for Barbie - Core Europe

Sophie has always been interested in different brands and discovering how/who managed a brand.  With a desire to see brand communication in different channels, Sophie joined DMU to study BA (Hons) Advertising and Marketing Communications.

“Having visited many different universities before DMU to look at different marketing courses, I eventually chose DMU because I felt that it had a really welcoming atmosphere and a lot of the course material was more ‘hands on’.  One of the big selling points was the option to take a work based placement year.”

The work based placement gave Sophie the opportunity to get out into the industry for a year and put some of her learning into practice.

“It also gives you something tangible to relate to when you return for your final year.  I also really enjoyed some of the ‘live’ projects where we would work in groups to complete assignments based on real work situations.”

Since leaving DMU, Sophie started a career at Mattel, Inc. the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. In July 2008 Sophie’s first role was as a Marketing Assistant, working across Boys Action Play properties, 18 months later, she was promoted to Assistant Brand Manager, taking on full management of Warner Bros portfolio (Batman, Superman, Green Lantern) and assisting in the launch of Mattel’s WWE range.

“I was an integral part of the team which implemented the Toy Story 3 campaign, which saw Jet Pack Buzz Lightyear crowned the TRA’s Toy of the Year 2010.”

In 2011 Sophie was responsible for the total Boys Action Play portfolio before being promoted to Brand Manager for Barbie in August 2011 of which she executed a successful national sales promotion and celebrity endorsement with The Saturdays in 2011. 

In 2013 Sophie was promoted to Brand Manager of Barbie for Core Europe, which encompasses eleven different markets across Europe, working with the Global team to set the brand objectives and strategy for the Barbie brand.

“I have a great opportunity to travel across Europe and the USA (Mattel is based in California), working on a brand that has incredible heritage that 99 per cent of people will have had an experience with at some point in their life. From early on at DMU I knew I wanted to become a brand manager, my love for brands meant that I had a desire to look after an amazing brand one day, I’m lucky enough to say that I can do that with Barbie, the biggest girls brand in the world for over 50 years!”

Sophie described her time at DMU as a fulfilling all round exciting experience and would advise anyone looking to get into the same line of work as her to “be aware that employers look for good experience and for people who take the imitative to learn quickly. So even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, show employers that you have transferable skills.”

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