Marcus Collins

Lecturer of Marketing & Co-Director of the Yaffe Digital Media Initiative, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan

Marcus Collins is an award-winning marketer and cultural translator. His deep understanding of brand strategy and consumer behavior has helped him bridge the academic-practitioner gap for blue-chip brands and startups alike. He is a recipient of both Advertising Age's 40 Under 40 and Crain's Business' 40 Under 40 awards. Before serving as Chief Consumer Connections Officer at Doner Advertising, Marcus led Social Engagement at Steve Stoute’s New York-based advertising agency, Translation. There, Marcus developed a practice to create contagious marketing programs that extend across both the online and offline worlds of “social." His strategies and creative contributions have led to the success of Budweiser’s “Made In America” music festival, the launch of Bud Light Platinum, the launch of the Brooklyn Nets (Hello Brooklyn!), and State Farm’s “Cliff Paul” campaign – among others.

Marcus always been a bit of a “square peg in a round hole”—growing up as a black kid in Detroit who swam competitively, loved the Monkees as much as he loved A Tribe Called Quest, and spent his summers at band camp. Among his white peers, he was the “blackest” person they knew. Among his black peers, he was never quite black enough. The result of these experiences taught him how to observe cultural codes and develop an empathic muscle. His years of training and work have since strengthened these innate abilities into an actionable practice that allows him to translate culture for brands and translate brands for culture.

Prior to his advertising tenure, Marcus began in music and tech with a startup he co-founded before working on iTunes + Nike sport music initiatives at Apple (iTunes Partner Marketing) and running digital strategy for Beyoncé. 

Beyond his practice, Marcus is also an extremely passionate educator. He is a marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and the faculty director for the school’s executive education partnership with Google. During his time at Ross, Marcus has won the Teaching Excellence Award for executive education and the University-bestowed Cornerstone Award. He is also a faculty member at the Harvard Extension School and the Boston University Questrom School of Business. Outside of the classroom, Marcus delivers keynote talks across the globe for companies and conferences like Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity, SXSW, Social Media Week, Adcolor, Hyper Island, TEDx, and Talks at Google. 

Marcus is a doctoral candidate at Temple University, studying social contagion within cultures of consumption. He also holds 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 is a proud Detroit native, a devoted husband, and loving father to Georgia and Ivy. 

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Inductee, 2020 Advertising Hall of Achievement

Last Updated: August 2020