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February 5, 2021

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20 Brandcenter alums contribute to 14 spots in Super Bowl LV

Super Bowl LV will be unlike any Super Bowl ever before. But despite the pandemic, one thing remains unchanged: Brandcenter alumni will still make a strong showing in the ad scene.

A total of 20 Brandcenter alumni contributed to 14 different spots airing in Super Bowl LV, including spots for brands like Anheuser-Busch, Doritos, Indeed, and Samuel Adams, to name a few. Additional spots may surface after the game on Sunday, February 7.

“People watch the Super Bowl for the game, the ads, or the halftime show,” says Vann Graves, executive director of the Brandcenter. “This year, they’re also coming for a little break from reality—a little personal indulgence. The entire event is a distraction from what’s going on around us.”

Humor is one approach advertisers are taking to help provide that distraction. Such is the case with Jimmy John’s, created by Cori Johnson (AD, 2013), Conner Tobiason (AD, 2012) and their team at Anomaly LA. The spot features a mob-adjacent sandwich king who is enraged by the popularity of “Jimmy’s John’s.” It wasn’t originally intended to be a Super Bowl spot, but after showing the client the rough cut they immediately started talking about running it this Sunday.

“The ‘Tony Bolognavich’ character was an idea that came to be in the pitch process with Jimmy John's in October of last year,” said Tobiason. “As the number four sandwich spot in the U.S., Jimmy(s) John's wanted/needed a campaign with attitude. We thought putting a face to "big sandwich" was exactly that. Brad Garrett was the guy we used in all our comps during the pitch, and we actually got him to play Tony! That never happens. Dreams do come true.”

When asked about what their experience has been like working on a Super Bowl spot during a pandemic, Tobiason didn’t sugar coat it.

“It was rough. I don't think I left my apartment once in three weeks. One of my favorite things about being a creative is being on production. It was heartbreaking knowing they were filming literally blocks away from me and I couldn't step foot on set.”

Congratulations to Cori, Conner, and all Brandcenter alums with work in this year’s Big Game. Check out the complete list of alumni spots below, and view the Brandcenter alumni Super Bowl playlist for 2021 on our YouTube channel. Additional spots will be added in the coming days.

Anheuser-Busch Brand Spot

Michael Hagos (AD, 2011)

Wieden+Kennedy NY


DoorDash, “The Neighborhood”

Robert Clark (CBM, 2019), Jerry Hoak (AD, 2005), Deric Nance (CW, 2004), Blake Smoral (ST, 2018)

The Martin Agency


Doritos, “Flat Matthew”

Sophie Lichtman (CW, 2020), Mila Wizel (AD, 2020)

Goodby Silverstein & Partners


Hellmann’s Mayonnaise

Heather Apple (CW, 2006)

Wunderman Thompson


Indeed, "The Rising"

Beth Stone (ST, 2008)



Jimmy John’s

Cori Johnson (AD, 2013) and Conner Tobiason (AD, 2012)

Anomaly LA



Luke Behrends (CW, 2007) and Meranne Behrends (ST, 2007)

Words from the Woods

(airing in the Maine area)


Mercari, "Get your unused things back in the game"

Nate Totten (CW, 2010)

Rain the Growth Agency


Michelob Ultra

Blair Warren (AD, 2014)




Northwestern Mutual, "Financial Planning for Families Affected by Autism"

Cristen Ingram (CW, 2004)

Northwestern Mutual


Rocket Mortgage

Scott Beard (ST, 2015)



Samuel Adams

Marisa Perazzelli (ST, 2014)

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners



Jodi Kanger Shelley (ST, 2000)




Marc d'Avignon (AD, 2005)

Saatchi LA


And, don’t forget to look for these off-Super Bowl ads:

Coors Light "Big Game Dream"

Shelby Bass (AD, 2020), Nick Garfield (CW, 2020)

DDB Chicago


Verizon Fortnite Stadium activation

David Byrd (AD, 2008)



TB12 Digital Spot

Luke Behrends (CW, 2007) and Meranne Behrends (ST, 2007)

Words from the Woods