Brandcenter alumni have record participation in Super Bowl 58 commercial airtime

The results are in! Another Super Bowl, another big showing from 31 Brandcenter alumni.

ETRADE still from Super Bowl 2024 ad

With the Super Bowl in the rearview, many confess, “I only watched for the commercials.” Us included — and for good reason. Every year, Brandcenter alums dominate by contributing to an impressive number of ads aired during the Big Game. This year was no exception.

Final score: 31 alumni across 21 campaigns

With a hand in spots for brands like Apple Music, Oreo, E*TRADE, and Etsy (full list and stats below), Brandcenter alumni are blitzing the advertising industry as the lead creative minds behind the magic. If schools like Texas Tech and Iowa State are the training ground for Super Bowl quarterbacks like Mahomes and Purdy, the Brandcenter is certainly the training ground for Super Bowl commercial makers.

“We are beyond proud of the impact our alums have on the Super Bowl experience. It’s the one time of year people tune in specifically for the commercials, and this year’s lineup did not disappoint,” says Associate Director Ashley Sommardahl. 

A few of our alumni gave us an exclusive look into the making of some of this year’s iconic ads. Check out a few of their stories below. For more alum highlights, check out VCU News

E*TRADE Babies play pickleball

“The baby talent required two separate nap breaks and a cap on how many hours they could work on set. Honestly, inspirational.”

Anne Marie Wonder (Art Direction, 2016), Creative Director at 72andSunny, NYC

Coors Light Chill train

“We actually did crash a train into a house for the climactic moment in our commercial. The house was built from scratch in a warehouse in South Africa (because we had to destroy it) and we had a stunt driver drive a massive train directly into the living room. We only had one take, which we filmed from three angles. For safety reasons, no one was allowed on set except for the driver.” 

Chris Colliton (Experience Design, 2012) and Kevin Weir (Art Direction, 2012), Group Creative Directors at Droga5, NYC Tina Fey books whoever she wants to be

“I am always so impressed by the amount of talented people who come together (agency, client and production company) to make something so fun and silly. Also, Glenn Close did all her own stunts. Legend.”

Tim Gordon (Copywriting, 2008), Chief Creative Officer at Zulu Alpha Kilo

Super Bowl 58 Superlatives from the Class of 2024

The morning after the Super Bowl, we host an ad-watching party for our second-year students to see how their rankings follow or differ from the USA Today Ad Meter, which polls the general population. This year, we also handed out superlatives as another way to rank our students’ favorite spots. 

😅 Funniest

  • Winner: Reese’s “Yes!”
  • Runner-up: CeraVe “Michael CeraVe”

😭 Tearjerker

  • Winner: Google “Javier in Frame”
  • Runner-up: Kia “Perfect 10 | The Kia EV9”

🤩 Best Use of Celebrity

  • Winner: Verizon “Can’t B Broken”
  • Runner-up: CeraVe “Michael CeraVe”

🥹 Most likely to make the world a better place

  • Winner: Google “Javier in Frame”
  • Runner-up: Dove “Hard Knocks: A Dove Super Bowl Film”

😍 Most jealousy-inducing/“Wish I had it in my book”

  • Winner: Pluto TV “Pluto TV Couch Potato Farms”
  • Runner-up: Google “Javier in Frame”

Drum roll, please! Super Bowl 58 Brandcenter Alumni Credits

  • Apple / Chris Trumbull (Copywriting, 2010), Apple Marcom
  • Audi / Michelle Darnell (Creative Brand Management, 2016), Ogilvy, NYC (running in Spanish Language on Univision)
  • Best Buy / Tim Shumar (Copywriting, 2017), Best Buy internal team
  • BET MGM / Joe Nio (Strategy, 2000), Highdive, Chicago
  • / Tim Gordon (Copywriting, 2008), Zulu Alpha Kilo NYC
  • Bud Light / Adam Dubrueler (Art Direction, 2021), Anomaly NYC
  • Carl’s Jr. / Chris Stephens (Copywriting 2010), Joey Ianno (Copywriting 2010), Russ Rizzo (Copywriting 2018), Casey Phillips (Art Direction 2018), Callen
  • Coors Light / Chris Colliton (Experience Design, 2012) & Kevin Weir (Art Direction, 2012), Droga5, NYC
  • E*TRADE / Anne Marie Wonder (Art Direction, 2016) & Emily Hovis (Copywriting, 2016), 72andSunny, NYC
  • Etsy / Sarah Garman (Creative Brand Management, 2013), Orchard, NYC
  • Google Pixel / Josh Rosen (Art Direction, 2002), Google Creative Lab, NYC
  • Manscaped / Lily Fu Ramos (Art Direction, 2016), Pereira O’Dell, NYC
  • NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV / Heather Ryder (Copywriting, 2010), YouTube Creative Studio
  • Opendoor / Hannah Hugeback (Strategy, 2021), Mischief, NYC
  • Oreo – TV / Johnny Roelofs (Strategy, 2013), The Martin Agency
  • Oreo – Social / Brianne Johnson (Strategy, 2020), Dentsu, NYC
  • Pizza Hut / Tiff McKee (Art Direction, 2006), GSD&M, Austin
  • Pluto TV / Jay Kamath (Art Direction, 2007), Haymaker, LA
  • Popeyes / Karah Smith (Strategy, 2022), Will Dean (Art Direction, 2004), Lyle Yetman (Copywriting, 2004), Walt Barron (Strategy, 2002), & Joshua Browne (Copywriting, 2019), McKinney, Durham
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups / Jason Goldberg (Art Direction, 2017), Erich & Kallman, SF
  • Sentara / John March (Creative Brand Management, 2022), Lewis Media Partners 
  • T-Mobile / Jodi Shelley (Strategy, 2000), T-Mobile

Until next year…

Image credit: E*TRADE