About this event

We're so excited to present this year's Ad Bowl at BES Studios to see which ads scored big and which were clearly a hail mary, because we all wish all of this football would stop interrupting the commercials.

David Neale

A copywriter throughout much of his career (and at heart), David founded Fable in 2017. Throughout his 25+ years in the business, he’s worked with Michael Jordan, had his work parodied by Saturday Night Live, and he’s won virtually every creative award for doing what he does.

Kyle McCann

Kyle McCann, Senior Digital Marketing Manager, illycaffè is a versed marketer with nine of his past years working brand and agency side in both a brand and digital capacity. His skill set is unique in that he marries data with storytelling, creative thinking with in-depth analysis and organization with agility. This mindset and frame of thought has led him to work with some of the top brands in the outdoor / action-sports industry, CPG and Media publications to drive positive results holistically and especially through ecommerce. During those nine years, Kyle has had the opportunity to work with brands globally, including Facebook, Twitter, Canyon Bicycles, Smith Optics, illycaffè and Transworld Publications to name a few. He's managed teams and channels both big and small, has been a mentor to many and prides himself on working with team members to ensure success in their careers. 

Outside of working hours, you can find Kyle enjoying time with his wife, newborn son and sidekick, Midge the dog. He frequents the local rivers, lakes and ocean to meditate (aka fishing) and can be found on the many MTB trails in RVA city limits and in gravel races around the country. After living in California for eight years and growing up in South Florida, he's seen many different parts of the country, but Richmond has quickly grown on him and his family in their 2 years of residence.

Martin Madriaga

Martin works as Business Director at Arts & Letters, where he leads the NFL on ESPN and CFB on ESPN accounts. He helped to pitch and win the NFL on ESPN campaign “Ready For Football” and the ESPN brand campaign “There’s No Place Like Sports.” Since then, Martin has worked on almost every piece of the ESPN business, which has grown to include the NBA on ESPN, ESPNW, CFB on ESPN, and This Is SportsCenter.

He started his career representing TV production companies and on-air talent at Creative Artists Agency, learning skills he didn’t realize would be useful in the future - like building relationships to sell good creative. Wanting to make the jump into advertising, Martin did a Google search on what the best advertising school was and ended up 2,628.2 miles away from home, studying strategy at the VCU Brandcenter. 

Mariana Cotlear Vega

Mariana Cotlear Vega is a brand strategist with a passion for helping people and brands grow and a deep commitment to using the power of brand to help make the world a better place.

In her current role as Strategy Director at The Martin Agency, she helps fight invisibility for our clients and unseen audiences, leading strategy work for brands like NERF and Monopoly.

Before Martin, Mariana was at Edelman, where she led global branding initiatives, product launches and consumer campaigns with clients including Victoria’s Secret, John Deere, Unilever and the U.S. Department of Labor.

She got her start in agency life branding start-ups at Red Antler. Prior to that, she worked in house for brands and organizations in the good food space, including Chipotle, FoodCorps, and Jose Andres Restaurant Group.

Mariana has totally non-advertising-related degrees from Georgetown and Columbia University where she mainly obtained a great group of friends and a very recently paid off student loan package.

In her free time she likes to make beautiful things with her hands, write about strategy and leadership on LinkedIn, and coaches aspiring strategists on how to break into the field.

Stephon Jacob

Stephon Jacob is a Strategic Planner at the Martin Agency. He works on Buffalo Wild Wings, Santander Bank, Virginia is for Lovers, and new business. He has a strong background in branding and marketing, having worked with a diverse range of clients, including division 1 and pro athletes, small-medium sized businesses and nonprofits. 

Stephon graduated with a master's degree from VCU Brandcenter and has worked at Erich & Kallman on campaigns for brands such as Dole Fruit Bowls, Great Wolf Lodge, Meineke Auto Repair, and Take 5. Stephon grew up in Maryland and had 7 division 1 football offers from high school. He played football at the University of Richmond and holds a bachelor's degree in Sociology.

Traci Naff

Traci is the Creative Director Wildfire’s Richmond office and aspiring plant supermom. A big picture thinker with an eye for details, Traci has a love for both expressive creativity and analytical problem solving.

In Traci’s 10 years at Wildfire and nearly 15 years in the field of design, she has produced uniquely creative solutions for a wide range of clients. Whether tasked with branding the new restaurant down the street or helping build a global brand, Traci approaches each challenge with a blend of curiosity and intent. Over her career, Traci has created award-winning ideas for brands like Wake Forest University, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Hanesbrands, Lowes Foods, BB&T, and Red Hat.

She’s a part-time wanderer, avid DIY’er, amateur baker, and mom to a spunky toddler.

Marcel Jennings, Moderator

Marcel Jennings is an Associate Professor of Creative Advertising at the VCU Richard T. Robertson School of Media & Culture where he teaches copywriting classes and portfolio development classes. Additionally, Marcel serves as the school's Advertising Sequence Coordinator so let him know if you're ever interested in adjunct teaching or swinging by (zooming by?) for a guest lecture.

Marcel is a VCU Brandcenter and VCU Robertson School alum. Prior to teaching, Marcel worked as a copywriter and Associate Creative Director for over 14 years at agencies such as Fallon NY, Ogilvy NY, DDB Chicago and Big River, in Richmond VA. In his free time, Marcel enjoys running, gaming and showing his twins memes from 4 years ago.

About the Sponsor

BES Studios is one the region's top award-winning Film, Broadcast, and Commercial video production companies. Boasting a 3,500 square-foot broadcast studio with cyc wall, a team of visionary and dedicated producers and directors, award-winning cinematographers and crew, and imaginative editors, animators, and audio recording engineers, BES has a tradition of producing outstanding, award-winning commercials and films.

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