Brandcenter alumni dominate Super Bowl 50


Last night, Johnny Roelofs (M.S.’13/B), a 2013 graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, felt like a proud papa when the Audi commercial he helped conceive aired during the Super Bowl.

“The excitement around knowing that almost every person I know will [have seen] the baby that I started working on eight months ago is unmatched,” said Roelofs, a senior strategist at Venables Bell & Partners. “There aren’t many professions where your work is seen by so many people on such a big stage at the same time, and it’s a privilege to be given that opportunity.”

This year, VCU Brandcenter graduates worked on 13 TV spots that aired during the Super Bowl. Twenty different alumni played a role in those ads.

Roelofs’ Audi spot promoting its new R8 V10 Plus vehicle points out that man’s greatest accomplishments and improvements come from moments of choosing risk. Putting a man on the moon was a risky decision, Roelofs said, but it led to personal computers, laser surgery and countless other technologies we use today.

“The R8 is Audi’s top car and represents a series of great leaps forward in design and engineering,” he said. “But many of those leaps forward were driven by risky decisions that went against the ‘normal’ way of doing things in luxury automotive. It was those decisions that led to our best-engineered car yet. … We wanted to illustrate how the best advancements come from moments of risk and show how that mindset lives in the car itself.”

Brandcenter alumna Morgan Aceino helped develop Omelet’s ad celebrating 20 years of Pokémon in the brand’s first-ever Super Bowl spot. The Omelet team infused the spot with the energy and finesse needed to properly honor the Pokémon empire. Since the story had to both speak to the Trainers – the people who catch, train, care for, and battle with Pokémon – who have been with the franchise for 20 years and to spark the imagination of the next generation, the team spent extra time speaking to people from both camps.

Read more and watch the alumni’s Super Bowl spots.