A woman standing in the middle of an open tent with a white and gray wolf standing behind her.
Wanting some surprising star power in its commercial for Busch Light, which is all about surviving the great outdoors, The Martin Agency enlisted confused animal shelter icon Sarah McLachlan. And a wolf.

Brandcenter alumni’s ads shine again on Super Bowl stage

Twenty-two Brandcenter alumni worked on ads featured during last night’s big game, including Jerry Hoak, who had a hand in two of the high-profile spots.

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Anheuser-Busch may have ended its exclusive advertising sponsorship with the NFL — resulting in more beer ads than ever in Super Bowl LVII — but that doesn’t mean the brewing company bowed out altogether.

For its Busch Light brand, the company brought back the Busch Guy spokesperson, said Jerry Hoak, executive creative director and managing partner at The Martin Agency, which worked on the Super Bowl spot.

Hoak, a 2005 graduate of the VCU Brandcenter, was one of 22 alumni who worked on ads featured in last night’s game.

“Our entire campaign is about surviving the great outdoors,” he said. “In our spot, Busch Guy describes the three things you need to survive in the wilderness. Food (obviously), drink (Busch, of course) and shelter (an unassuming tent).

“But for the Super Bowl, we needed some surprising star power. [So] inside the ‘shelter’ was confused animal shelter icon Sarah McLachlan. After she makes her impassioned plea to America, she’s kindly informed by the Busch Guy that she’s in the wrong commercial.”

The Martin Agency team members knew they had to create an ad that could handle the heavy lifting of making an impression amid the onslaught of beer and seltzer commercials this year.

Andrew Allen thinks they nailed it.

“I think the best Super Bowl commercials break through the noise and make the audience do a sort of double take, all without creating something that lives outside of the typical world of the brand,” said Allen, a 2019 Brandcenter alum who worked as a strategist for the ad. “I may be biased, but I think we achieve that with this spot.”

Treat every ad like it might end up being on the Super Bowl. Because it might.

Jerry Hoak, 2005 graduate of the Brandcenter.

Orchard NYC had a similar challenge in making its client, Oikos Yogurt, stand out in the field of Greek yogurts, said Sarah Garman, a 2013 creative brand management graduate. A hallmark of Oikos is its high protein content ? but that’s true of all Greek yogurt.

“We needed to give Oikos an ownable point of view. And the way we did that was we thought about the emotional benefit to protein, which very simply is strength,” she said. “That is a universal benefit of more protein. A very simple one. … In doing so, we became the first and the only yogurt to own strength.”

This was Garman and Allen’s first year with a Super Bowl ad (although Garman has had a hand in other Super Bowl ads in the past, this was the first that she worked on from conception to completion). For Hoak, it was both his second and third Super Bowl spot.

“I had the rare privilege of working on two spots [this year]. But it took more than 15 years to get my first one,” he said. “There is no bigger high than finding out your spot is going to be in the Super Bowl. Having two this year feels surreal.” His second spot last night touted DoorDash’s relatively new grocery delivery service. “We leaned into their restaurant expertise by drawing a simple conclusion: Since DoorDash knows restaurants so well, they also know chefs pretty well too. And no one knows how to choose groceries like some of pop culture’s most iconic chefs.”

Danielle Delph and Allison Apperson, who graduated from the Brandcenter with a concentration in art direction in 2013 and 2016 respectively, also worked on the DoorDash ad.

Hoak has some advice for his fellow Brandcenter alumni: “Treat every ad like it might end up being on the Super Bowl. Because it might.”

Super Bowl LVII ads featuring work by VCU Brandcenter alumni


Tim Gordon (CW, 2008)

Casey Rand (CW, 2008)

Zulu Alpha Kilo NYC

Watch Melissa get swept away on a whirlwind musical tour of hotels, vacation rentals, and wigs galore in her Big Game debut for Booking.com.

Bud Light

Cori Johnson (AD, 2013)

Alex Ledford (CW, 2012)

Anomaly LA

Take it from Miles Teller: even when you’re on hold, enjoyment is only a sip away. #EasyToEnjoy

Busch Light

Andrew Allen (ST, 2019)

Jerry Hoak (AD, 2005)

The Martin Agency RVA

Busch Light and Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan are finding “Shelter” together for the beer brand’s new Super Bowl LVII advertisement.

Coors Light/Miller Lite

Chris Colliton (XD, 2012)

Kevin Weir (AD, 2012)

Nathan Bennet (CW, 2021)

Grant Bauley (AD, 2021)

Droga5 NYC

Coors Light and Miller Lite return to the Big Game after 30 years, but whose commercial is it? Watch as the two iconic beers duke it out in The High Stakes Beer Ad: the first ad you could play on DraftKings.

Cox Mobile

Meghan Callaghan (AD, 2021)

FCB Chicago

Don’t follow the flock. We did things a little differently to bring you something … well, different. Introducing a new kind of mobile company.

Crown Royal

Jonathan Castaneda (CBM, 2021)

Anomaly NYC

Yep. We gave our Super Bowl ad to Canada, to thank them for all they’ve given to us…


Jerry Hoak (AD, 2005)

Allison Apperson (AD, 2016)

Danielle Delph (AD, 2013)

Featuring celebrity chef Matty Matheson of Hulu’s hit series The Bear, Raekwon The Chef of legendary rap group The Wu-Tang Clan, and Nickelodeon’s stop-motion-animated Tiny Chef, DoorDash's “We Get Groceries” campaign.


Melissa Cabral (ST, 2010)

David & Goliath LA

In Kia’s Big Game ad, the new all-wheel drive Telluride X-Pro SUV takes all-terrain capability to the next level so you can be ready for larger-than-life adventures – whether they be on or off-road.

Michelob Ultra

Blair Warren (AD, 2014)

Wieden + Kennedy NYC

Hello, Bushwood! It’s out with the old and in with our stars…err, new members taking over. So, dust off those clubs, show us your best moves, grab your ULTRA and…*cue music*...do what you like.
The #SuperBowl is almost in full swing and you can get a sneak peek at #FullSwingNetflix just by scanning your ULTRA golf pack can.

Oikos Yogurt

Sarah Garman (CBM, 2013)

Orchard NYC

Coach Prime and the rest of the Sanders crew turn a quaint family reunion into a heated, protein-packed strength competition. #OikosStrong


Ben Schneider (CW, 2012)

Vayner Media NYC

Introducing our Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Commercial starring Steve Martin.
Introducing our Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Commercial starring Ben Stiller.


Tom Coates (CW, 1999)

Rakuten in-house agency SF

More Cher, more shopping and more Cash Back thanks to Rakuten.


Jod Shelley (ST, 2001)


An American icon moves into the neighborhood and joins the gang in song to spread the word about T-Mobile Home Internet.
We tried to make a commercial with Bradley Cooper and his mom Gloria to tell everyone why it’s awesome at T-Mobile. Things didn’t work out quite how we expected as they tried to tell the world about our award-winning 5G network or Price Lock guarantee. But it’s still pretty fun to watch.


Hannah Hugeback (ST, 2022)
Ryan Stotts (AD, 2005)

Mischief NYC

Go deep on the kind of content you’re passionate about. Tubi.tv. Free movies + TV.
No, you didn't sit on the remote. But on Super Bowl Sunday, we fooled audiences into thinking they did. Discover all of this content and more on Tubi.
Also check out the "Super Bowl-adjacent" Anytime Fitness social campaign

Howard Finkelstein (CW, 2005)

Ross Fletcher (AD, 2012)

Mischief NYC

Anytime Fitness' Super Bowl ad