From Budweiser to Beyoncé, McDonald’s to Google, Marcus Collins has been the architect behind some of the most famous ad campaigns of the last decade. When he’s not helping blue chip brands create contagious marketing ideas as Chief Strategy Officer at award-winning agency, Wieden+Kennedy, appearing on the TED stage, writing a column for Adweek or releasing a much-anticipated new book, he is shaping the next generation of marketers as a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. A celebrated expert on cultural contagion, meaning-making, brand strategy, and consumer behavior, Marcus shows audiences in any industry or profession how to harness the power of culture to get others to share your vision and most of all, take action.
We live in a hyper-connected world bombarded by thousands of messages and interactions per day. How do we break through to not only engage, but to truly connect and catalyze action? Sharing his “Contagion Cookbook” of strategies drawn from the most famous ad campaigns and cultural phenomena of our time, Dr. Marcus Collins breaks down the ways in which culture influences behavior, driving connection and ultimately, commerce. Audiences leave with the secret recipes for building Cultural Contagion—going beyond just “going viral” to create ideas that catch on, inspire action and become a part of the culture itself.
Dr. Marcus Collins is an award-winning marketer and expert on cultural contagion, meaning-making, brand strategy and consumer behavior. He has spent his career translating culture for brands and translating brands for culture, becoming the architect of some of the best-known advertising campaigns of our time. Marcus has championed strategies for blue chip brands such as McDonald’s, Apple, Google, State Farm, Target, Peloton, and Budweiser, and even ran digital strategy for Beyoncé. He currently serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Wieden+Kennedy New York, the award-winning ad agency best known for its work for Nike and the legendary “Just Do It” campaign. He is also a columnist for Adweek, a TED speaker, and a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. His honors include being an AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement Inductee, 2022 Cannes Lions Jury Member, and one of the favorite professors of the University of Michigan MBA class of 2022. He is also the recipient of Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 award and Crain’s Business’ 40 Under 40 award. His much-anticipated book, For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, and Who We Want to Be declares that no matter what we do, we are all marketers trying to influence people in our daily lives and shows how to harness culture to inspire others to share your vision and take action. It will be released in May, 2023.
Marcus Collins has spent his career studying the underlying drivers that motivate people to take action—to buy, to watch, to click, to vote, to subscribe, etc.—helping organizations from Fortune 500 companies to startups and nonprofits use this knowledge to create marketing campaigns that catalyze collective action. His strategies and creative contributions have led to the launch and success of Google’s “Real Tone” technology, Budweiser’s “Made in America” film festival, the Brooklyn Nets, and State Farm’s “Cliff Paul” campaign.
Before joining Wieden+Kennedy, Marcus served as the Chief Consumer Connections Officer at Doner Advertising and led Social Engagement at Steve Stoute’s advertising agency, Translation.
Prior to his advertising tenure, Marcus began his career in music and tech with a start-up he co-founded before working on iTunes + Nike sports music initiatives. He holds a doctorate in marketing from Temple University, where he studied cultural contagion and meaning-making. Marcus received an MBA with an emphasis on strategic brand marketing from the University of Michigan, where he also earned his undergraduate degree in Material Science Engineering. He has spoken for Fortune 100 audiences such as Google, United Healthcare, Toyota, Verizon and Fannie Mae.