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We just completed months of work for ESPN’s X Games with big presentations to marketing leaders, Robert Zajac and Kevin Kirksey, from ESPN. We were also joined by Steve Sanders and Rob Schapiro from The Martin Agency. Earl Cox and I coached 12 teams of passionate gradate students competing in the intense competition. Each team was required to conduct primary and secondary research, develop brand positioning aimed at growing viewers and increasing the cultural relevance of the brand, and finally executing a creative campaign using a broad array of consumer touchpoints. 

And the results are in: Every team did an outstanding job with their work and the ESPN and Martin Agency teams were excited by the quality of thinking, the originality of the creative solutions and the professionalism of the presentations. And I was blown away too. These teams identified key insights that mirrored the client’s own work, and they attacked the problem from a variety of interesting angles. I couldn’t be more proud of their work. 

To let the client have the last word, here’s a quote from Robert Zajac, Associate Director, Brand Development, ESPN:

“it was both energizing and inspiring to see such a great pool of talent put so much effort, insight and passion into our brand. The ideas were sharp and the presentations were very professional. it was a real pleasure being a part of the final presentations and we hope it was a great learning experience that they can build on to continue developing as marketers, creatives and strategic thinkers”


The team at are hard at work preparing for their 6th Portfolio Night on May 8th. Portfolio Night is billed as “the single largest single largest simultaneous career speed-dating night in the world” and VCU Brandcenter board member, Bob Scarpelli, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer of DDB Worldwide calls it “one of the most important events of the year for the advertising industry.”

This year it features thousands of student portfolios from around the world. And if you’re a student interested in a few tips, you can follow this link to get words of advice from Brandcenter faculty.