3 min read

Marketing Guru Bonin Bough Says ‘Coalition of the Willing’ Is Better Than ‘Alignment’

In the sixth episode of season two of The Rough Cut, Storyhunter co-founder Alex Ragir sits down with Bonin Bough, marketing guru and…
Marketing Guru Bonin Bough Says ‘Coalition of the Willing’ Is Better Than ‘Alignment’

In the sixth episode of season two of The Rough Cut, Storyhunter co-founder Alex Ragir sits down with Bonin Bough, marketing guru and Founder & CEO of Bonin Ventures, from the Open Mic beach at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France.

Bonin Bough was one of the youngest C-suite executives at a Fortune 50 Company as a marketing executive at Mondelez International. Before his time at Mondelez, Bonin led global digital marketing efforts for PepsiCo, Weber, and many others. In 2013, he was inducted into the AAF’s Advertising Hall of Achievement and he’s also been featured in Fortune Magazine’s “40 under 40”.

Alex and Bonin discussed video storytelling, pushing forward the debate at industry events such as Cannes Lions, and how to innovate within within large corporations.

Below are edited highlights of the conversation:

Cannes Lions, And Events Like It, Are Crucial For the Industry

“At the end of the day, these types of forums are massively important for people to share ideas, inspiration, knowledge, case studies, what worked, what didn’t, and at the same time, meet people. [Also] have a chance to find other people to collaborate with.”

Digital Content Should “Bring A Smile to Someone’s Face”

“I think the trends have been a lot around purpose and cause which is interesting, but I think we’re going to see a lot more around format and entertainment come back. How do I just bring a smile to someone’s face? How do I entertain them? In a search to find more meaning than meaning exists, we’ve lost the fact that we have this beautiful power to make somebody laugh.”

Showcase Humanity, Don’t Orchestrate It

“We’re so concerned with ‘do I have every single skin color in the video?’ and making sure that we’re not alienating or offending anyone. And part of the challenge I think is as we’re trying to reconstruct what we believe is a diverse and fair life, there’s a new generation that’s shooting with their video camera… and their whole world is diverse. So maybe instead of trying to orchestrate a perfected humanity we should tell stories that showcase humanity.”

Strive For a Coalition of the Willing, Not Alignment

“I don’t need a lot of people. Everybody’s like ‘I need alignment, alignment! Alignment across to organization! Everyone align with me!” I don’t need alignment. You can’t get six people to align with where they should sit at Thanksgiving. They think we’re gonna get one of the largest companies in the world to align? It’s not gonna happen. What I need is coalition of the willing. I need who are those that believe in this thing, and let’s go forth and make this possible.”

Generate As Many Ideas As Possible

“I don’t believe in focusing on singular ideas. People are like, “Just do one thing and do it great.” I do believe in that to some extent, but I put as many ideas into the organization as humanly possible. I make it like Whack-a-Mole. “Oh there’s an idea. BAM! Oh, here’s another one! BAM! BAM!” Eventually one will get through. My ideas get shut down every day. My own team shuts me down. But you do it for the ones that get through.”


Previous episodes of The Rough Cut:

Season Two:

Mary Kate McGrath, Chief Content Officer, Gallery Media Group

Barri Rafferty, President & CEO, Ketchum

Stacy Minero, Global Head of Content Creation, Twitter

Ari Halper, Chief Creative Officer, FCB New York

Mickey Meyer, President of Network, Group Nine Media

Season One:

Courtney Coupe, VP of Content, Great Big Story

Stone Roberts, VP of Global Video Strategy, Refinery29

Jason Beauregard, Head of Studio, VaynerMedia

Zahra Rasool, Editorial Lead, Contrast VR

Warren Cohen, Head of Video, New York Post

Greg Gilderman, Global Head of Video and Editor-in-Chief, Weather Channel

Jamie Bolding, Founder and CEO, Jungle Creations

Craig Duff, Video Journalism Professor, Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism


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By Jake Watkins, Storyhunter Writer