Elle McCarthy

VP of Brand and Social Impact, Electronic Arts

Elle McCarthy’s first job was in a punk stall in London’s Camden Market. Since then she has become a marketing leader specializing in equitable brand-building. Elle has maintained a subversive spirit throughout her career, dedicating much of her work to speaking out against injustice and pulling apart the systems that have led to the lack of diversity in the marketing world. 

Today Elle is the VP of Brand and Social Impact for Electronic Arts. She has built a new team responsible for building brand strength, and spanning brand management, strategy, marketing, editorial and identity. Starting in this role in 2020, Elle’s first move was to lead EA’s Covid 19 franchise wide campaign encouraging players to Stay Home & Play Together. Since then she has led a major rebrand, overseen EA’s new purpose-led positioning to expand the positive power of play and relaunched their charter as an organization built in service of all players—standing unequivocally against exclusion. Elle also runs a council of people dedicated to DEI workstreams as EA’s executive DEI sponsor for marketing.

Previously, Elle has ascended as an agency-side strategic leader in both the UK and the US. Most recently, she was the strategic lead on the winning Global Ford Pitch for BBDO. Following this high profile win, Elle was promoted to EVP Global Head of Strategy leading a new Global strategy team tasked with transforming Ford’s marketing operating system.

Before this, Elle was at BBH London where she led the brand transformation for Virgin Media and the strategy for the Refuge domestic violence charity. Elle repositioned BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra at Karmarama, helping these brands to better serve the UK’s youth, from elevating the opportunities in grassroots music, to increasing access to sex education. Elle has received many awards for her work including Cannes, IPA, Effie, D&AD, The Golden Arrows, 40 under 40, Marketing Academy Scholar and IPA Woman of Tomorrow finalist.

Elle has consistently fought inequality outside of work too. From creating the black ops movement, ‘Women Cannes’ to honor #MeToo, to her keynote talk, ‘Choose Your Words’ given at the 3% Conference in 2018. When Elle graduated from Oxford University with a first class degree in 2009, she already had a day rate as a strategist. At the time, she wrote these words for her resume—words that ring just as true today: "I believe in brands’ responsibility to construct a better kind of capitalism. As marketers, we can start to re-invent our practice with the people we create with and serve. To me, this means greater transparency, ethical practices, not preying on vulnerability and insecurity, breaking down bad normative images, helping to shape and reshape everyday aspirations… I want to be a part of this change."

Inductee, 2022 Advertising Hall of Achievement

Last Updated: October 2022