Brinker names Jesse Johnson vice president, marketing at Chili’s

New marketing chief previously earned recognition, awards during work on creative campaigns for notable clients of W+K

Brinker International named Jesse Johnson vice president of marketing. The casual-dining chain will have Johnson develop and execute marketing strategies for Chili’s Grill & Bar. Dallas-based Chili’s will strengthen its brand across multiple touchpoints, Brinker said, including advertising, media, PR, and guest service.

Johnson’s career includes notable campaigns across his 16 years of experience as an accomplished brand director. His work at Wieden+Kennedy (W+K) reaffirmed his visionary talent leading award-winning marketing initiatives and campaigns. Procter & Gamble, Nike Golf and KFC, including the acclaimed “Return of Colonel Sanders” campaign, reaffirmed his artistic acumen.

“As we look to be more commercially aggressive, Jesse’s expertise and passion for building culturally relevant brands will be a driving force in putting Chili’s back in the cultural zeitgeist,” said George Felix, Chili’s chief marketing officer. “What gets me even more excited is the fact that he’s a servant leader, has a passion for coaching, and my belief that he will be a great fit and addition to our ChiliHead culture.”


During his time at W+K, Johnson managed client relationships, supporting their growth and the agency’s growth. An eye for evolving the work for his clients generated business development through his campaigns. Most recently, Johnson served as director of growth and helped propel the trajectory of W+K’s social arm, Bodega, in Portland, Ore.

In 2018, Ad Age named Johnson “Account Director of the Year,” while naming KFC’s campaign “Campaign of the Year.” Notably, Johnson also led the development of P&G’s globally acclaimed “Proud Sponsor of Moms” Olympic campaign for the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, which earned an Emmy, Gold Effie and six Gold Lions.


“I have a deep-rooted love for the Chili’s brand, and I can’t wait to work with our marketing and leadership teams, as well as our Team Members, to elevate Chili’s prominence,” said Johnson, incoming vice president of marketing at Chili’s. “I’m excited to use my brand strategy and creative background to help Chili’s disrupt the casual dining space.”

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