Ben Thompson spent 20 years in major corporate brands, leading marketing, sales and strategy teams all over the world, first for Mars Incorporated where he joined on the graduate scheme and spent 11 years reaching Director level position, latterly as Director of Category Leadership. Ben moved to The Walt Disney Company in 2011 where in under 5 years he rose to become Regional Marketing Director for EMEA, leading the UK/EMEA marketing teams for what is now Disney Parks, Products and Experiences on Star Wars Episode VII (2015), Avengers Assemble (2012), Iron Man 3 (2014), Spider-Man 2 (2014), Frozen (2015), Cars 2 (2013) and Brave (2013).
Ben then moved to become Global Marketing Director role at Merlin where he held responsibility for the opening of 4 LEGOLAND®️ Parks and 40 Midway sites across the world, including development of 3 new brands; Little Big City, the Bear Grylls Adventure, and Peppa Pig Land.
In February 2018 Ben founded 9 Degrees West, a strategic marketing consultancy focussed on the experience economy that helps companies develop clear brand propositions and communications assets to acquire new customers and grow their revenues. 9 Degrees West’s clients included global children’s edutainment brand KidZania, the Cataratas Group (the largest park operator in South America), Europa-Park, and Tony’s Chocolonely for whom together with Storyland Studios, Ben is helping to build Tony’s Factory in Zaandam, Holland.
Ben was trained in strategy by Professor Don Sull of London Business School and Bain Consulting, and in marketing by Byron Sharpe of “How Brands Grow”. Ben has run several successful strategic transformation projects including a 2-year European category vision at Mars, the development of a new ecommerce and social media platform at Disney, and multiple new business projects at Merlin. Ben has demonstrated many times that he has the skills necessary to manage a large network of stakeholders across a complex project. Ben loves innovation and the big strategic challenge, and loves delivering work from idea to reality.
After meeting Mel McGowan at IAAPA in 2019 Ben and Storyland Studios formed first a friendship, then a successful client-partnership, and finally a marriage! Ben joined the Storyland team as Chief Strategy Officer and Head of International in August 2020. Ben will remain located just outside London, England to run the Storyland International office.