Marcus Collins

Award-winning marketer and cultural translator.


Thinkers50 Radar Class of 2023. 


Shortlisted for the 2023 Thinkers50 Radar Award. 


For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, And Who We Want To Be was featured on the Thinkers50 Best New Management Booklist in 2023.


Collins’ deep understanding of brand strategy and consumer behaviour has helped him bridge the academic-practitioner gap for blue-chip brands and startups alike, creating culturally contagious ideas that inspire people to take action. His strategies and creative contributions have led to the launch and success of Budweiser’s “Made In America” music festival, the Brooklyn Nets (Hello Brooklyn!), and State Farm’s “Cliff Paul” campaign – among others. The primary goal of all industries, he explains, is to “get people to move”, whether it is to buy, to click, to watch, vote or subscribe.


Chief strategy officer at Wieden+Kennedy New York and also marketing professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Collins gained his doctorate in marketing from Temple University, where he studied cultural contagion and meaning-making, and an MBA with an emphasis on strategic brand marketing from the University of Michigan. Previously, he served as the chief consumer connections officer at Doner Advertising and led social engagement at Steve Stoute’s advertising agency, Translation. His early career was in music, co-founding a tech start-up and working on iTunes + Nike sport music initiatives at Apple. Collins is a recipient of Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 award and Crain’s Business’ 40 Under 40 award, and a recent inductee into the American Advertising Federation’s Advertising Hall of Achievement.


For the Culture: The Power Behind What We Buy, What We Do, And Who We Want To Be (Public Affairs, forthcoming May 2023); ‘Too Foreign For Here: The Life of a Black Sheep’ (TEDxUofM, 09 March 2018); ‘Marketers Don’t Know People’ (TEDxLSSU 08 May 2017); ‘The Muddled Myth of Going Viral: Is Virality All it’s Cracked Up to Be?’ (TEDxGVSU, 30 May 2017).


Media picks


“People-mover extraordinaire.”

Stuart Crainer & Des Dearlove, Thinkers50

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