Good & Tough

We pride ourselves on creating and living by a culture of good and tough. We’re good to each other and tough on the work. Good means respect, joy, love. Tough means pushing, reaching and never settling. There are lots of companies that are good, and there are some that are just plain tough. We are one of the few that are both.

Who We Are

We are over 500 employees from 23 countries. We are creatives, UX planners and number crunchers. We are yogis, mustaches, fixed gear bikes and cardigans. But we are also Jeeps, top 40 lists and the occasional selfie. Our goals are not just about dollar signs or awards for our shelf (though we like those, too). Our real goal is to help clients find and tap into new energy for their brands.

What We Do

We are a full-service agency with unified capabilities in advertising, strategic planning, direct response, digital, data analytics, design and branded content. Our strength lies not in a type of account, category or even a style of work. Our strength is our ability to help brands find and tap into new energy. Energy that fuels growth, powers big ideas and breathes new life into the relationship between the brand and consumers. And from OREO to Walmart, UPS to GEICO, we’ve created new energy for brands across industries. Below are just a few of our unique capabilities and partnerships that allow us to do so.

Design An eclectic group fueled by collaboration that uses visual storytelling to challenge traditional design categories. From technological designs for Fortune 100 companies to street postings for soft drinks and bands, the design team is devoted to serving up visual diversity.
Digital Full Digital Studio, offering UX and visual design, digital advertising, site development and maintenance and mobile app development.
Hue&Cry (Agency Partner) A creative service and production company that offers a broad range of capabilities, including concept development, design, 2D, 3D, cel, character and stop motion animation.
Media In house, full-service media department, offering comms planning, audience research, channel budget allocation, local broadcast buying, national and local print buying, digital and mobile display/video, SEM, and KPI development and measurement.
Running with Scissors High-quality post-production service and a creative atmosphere, offering offline (Final Cut, AVID, Premiere), remote HD color correction w/Co.3 & The Mill, as well as online and visual effects (Flame/Smoke).
Social Fully managed social solutions, including day-to-day community management, a social newsroom, content strategy and development, social CRM and social analytics.
Studio Squared (Agency Partner) Studio Squared is the leading company for results-based content at retail, managing the largest in-store network in North America. They leverage shopper-marketing insights to develop content for more than 150 of the largest consumer packaged goods companies the US.

Executive Leadership

Matt Williams

Chief Executive Officer

Matt Williams

Chief Executive Officer

Hired in 1991

As the fifth CEO in the history of The Martin Agency, Matt Williams really knows how to command a room. Guess it doesn't hurt that he's 6'3". He's an avid cyclist, father of two and has a calming presence that makes any goal feel within reach (though that may also be due to his large wingspan).

Matt joined the agency in 1991 as an account executive, but quickly found his niche in strategic planning, leading U.S. and global development for GEICO, Discover Financial Services, Nespresso, UPS, Saab, Credit Suisse and Bank One. In his role as CEO, Matt oversees the agency's work for prominent brands including GEICO, Benjamin Moore, Walmart and Mondelez, among others.

Matt holds a marketing degree from The College of William & Mary as well as an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. He is also a contributing author to the best-selling book Kellogg on Branding. He speaks regularly on advertising and marketing topics around the country and has even consulted on communications strategy with the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Defense.

All this from a man who made it through college as the lead singer of a band called Flannel Animals.

Joe Alexander

Chief Creative Officer

Joe Alexander

Chief Creative Officer

Hired in 1991

For more than 25 years, Joe has been one of the most prolific creatives in the world. His copywriting and creative leadership have produced acclaimed work for brands in almost every category and medium.

In 2015, GEICO’s "Unskippable" pre-roll campaign took home 12 Cannes Lions, including the Grand Prix in Film. Since 2010, The Martin Agency has won 29 Lions overall.

In 2013, "Clouds Over Cuba," a striking interactive documentary for the JFK Presidential Library, won an Emmy, the first time an ad agency has ever won in the news and documentary category.

Joe was named one of the 50 Most Creative People in the World in 2015 by Ad Age Creativity. He recently served as 2016 Cannes Lions Film Jury President.  Joe is also a long time Board Member of The One Club in New York.

The late Mike Hughes, former Martin President, said this when he named Joe CCO in 2012: "Joe’s passion for the work, his unbridled drive to push hard for brilliant creative and his ability to mentor creative talent across all disciplines combine to make him the right guy for this critically important job."

Beth Rilee-Kelley

President

Beth Rilee-Kelley

President

Hired in 1983

A true renaissance ad person, Beth began her advertising career in 1983 at The Martin Agency. During her tenure, Beth has made an impact across the agency, from working in account management to working in the creative department with Mike Hughes and Joe Alexander, as well as leading the human resources group. She became a partner in 2005, assumed the role of chief operating officer in 2011, and was named president of the agency in 2016. As president, Beth has an expanded role partnering with clients and participating in business development initiatives.

Campaigns under Beth’s supervision have consistently garnered both marketing and creative recognition, including awards from the Effies, The One Show, Communication Arts and the Art Directors Club (NY). Beth has been a voice for women in the industry, speaking at events for the AAF and the Advertising Educational Foundation, receiving one of Richmond’s top three Executive Women in Business Achievement awards in 2013, and being credited with inspiring The 3% Conference for female leadership. Beth was also the 2014 commencement speaker for the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Robertson School of Media & Culture.

Beth currently serves as a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ finance committee and is Chair of the advisory board for VCU’s Robertson School of Media & Culture. In addition, she serves on the boards of The Greater West Point Family YMCA and the Virginia Film Festival.

Beth graduated the University of Virginia with a degree in communications. She and her husband, Paul, are river rats and live in West Point, VA. They have two adult children, Breeden and Thomasson.

Earl Cox

Chief Strategy Officer

Earl Cox

Chief Strategy Officer

Hired in 1986

An NFL junkie with a naturally wry wit, Earl’s first and only job in planning has been head of strategy at Martin. That either means he is really good at what he does or he hasn’t gotten a promotion in almost 30 years. Since he has been recognized as one of the leaders of the account planning movement, we think it’s the former.

That said, Earl plays a key role in many of the agency’s most visible and successful brand-building campaigns, helping clients such as Walmart and GEICO set their strategic directions. He leads a cadre of planners in the relentless, never-ending pursuit of the consumer’s truth, and uses a variety of unconventional research techniques designed to get consumers to reveal their real motivations.

Earl has been recognized as one of the leaders of the account planning movement, sitting on the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Account Planning Committee, the APG-US board, and co-chairing the Account Planning Group’s annual award show.

In his spare time, Earl can be found skiing, shooting hoops or splitting wood for a winter’s worth of fires.

Janet White

Chief Financial Officer

Janet White

Chief Financial Officer

Hired in 1992

Janet joined Martin in 1992 as a staff accountant and has since left her mark on the agency. In addition to bringing more than 25 years of financial expertise to the table, Janet also brings a passion for the work and a respect for what's necessary to fuel creativity. In other words, she bleeds Martin red.

Prior to joining the agency, Janet worked at a startup computer company in Richmond as well as at an accounting firm in Florida, where she started her career. She graduated from East Carolina University in 1989 with a bachelor of science in accounting, passed the CPA exam in 1991 and received her master's in business administration from the University of Richmond in 1995.

In addition to her financial responsibilities at work, Janet also serves on the 4A's finance committee as well as on the executive leadership team for the Richmond Heart Ball, benefiting the American Heart Association.

In her spare time, Janet spends time with her active identical twin daughters, who swim competitively year round, and relaxes with her partner and adopted golden retrievers at Lake Gaston.

Ian Davidson

Managing Director International

Ian Davidson

Managing Director International

Hired in 2001

A native of Newcastle, aka a Geordie, Ian joined the agency in 2001 after running the integrated UPS global account through the McCann network. His ability to calmly and smartly guide international brands in the global marketplace has been instrumental on numerous accounts, including ManpowerGroup, Kraft, ExxonMobil and Yum! Brands.

As we extend our reach around the world, Ian moved to Martin London as the Managing Director, International, where his responsibilities include focusing on the wider international development of The Martin Agency. And he’s pretty good at it, having worked in global management for more than 25 years.

Prior to Martin, Ian worked at McCann-Erickson London for thirteen years as one of their top international account leaders, and at Publicis for nearly seven years, working across a wide range of business categories, including Personal Care, Retail and Cosmetics with Boots, and OTC Pharmaceuticals with GSK. Ian joined our Executive Committee in 2013, as its first non U.S.-based member.

When not in the office, you will typically find Ian traveling to one of our other offices, to see a client in another country, or with his wife to see their two daughters in Newcastle and Liverpool. He also has an affinity for fast cars.

Steve Humble

Managing Director, Integrated Production and Design

Steve Humble

Managing Director, Integrated Production and Design

Hired in 1999

A neat freak who once castrated pigs as a part-time job, Steve's dashing looks and dodgeball skills are notorious throughout the agency — thankfully, as is his ability to create the most innovative and memorable communications in the world.

Steve joined the agency in 1999, and in that time has guided The Martin Agency from a print-driven shop to a TV powerhouse. Joining the company's Executive Committee in 2013, he's now playing a big part in the agency's digital conversion. In addition to managing and overseeing all aspects of the agency's production, Steve also built our production and animation facility, Running with Scissors.

Steve started his career interning at The Oprah Winfrey Show, before getting his first production job at Leo Burnett working on iconic brands — including McDonald's, Kellogg's, Kraft, Gatorade, Miller Brewing and Chevrolet.

When Steve is not working, he likes to spend his time golfing, hanging out with his three teenage boys, and pondering the irony of his relation to John Wilkes Booth.

Chris Mumford

Managing Director, Account Management

Chris Mumford

Managing Director, Account Management

Hired in 1997

For a man whose vices include cheese puffs and snoring like a freight train, Chris Mumford sure knows how to champion innovative, business-building ideas. Maybe it harkens back to his glory days as an All-American tennis player at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Chris is a competitor who refuses to lose (just ask anyone unlucky enough to sit around a poker table with him). And his efforts through the years have helped earn countless awards for his clients — from Effies to Obies; Caples to One Show Pencils; APGs to CLIOs. But it's more than awards (and winning). What motivates him is the quest to drive commerce with engaging and compelling brand stories.

Along with managing account management, “Mumford," as he is cleverly dubbed throughout the agency, leads the GEICO, American Cancer Society, Experian and World Wildlife Fund accounts while also spearheading pro bono work for the 2015 World Cycling Championships. He has an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and has become a tireless advocate for elevating account management in our industry.

Not bad for a self-proclaimed “uncompromising pain in the ass" who once performed “Tomorrow" from the musical Annie on-stage.

New York Management

Amber Guild

Managing Director, New York

Amber Guild

Managing Director, New York

Hired in 2016

When it comes to claims to fame, it’s tough to pick just one for Amber.

Would it be that she got married in Vegas in the Little Chapel of Flowers, just like Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman? Or that she was a child actress? How about being named one of Ad Age’s ‘Women to Watch’?

Amber joined The Martin Agency in 2016 as the first managing director of our New York office. And while her wedding venue was bold, we were even more impressed by her business acumen and her track record of doing great work, for big brands, at some amazing agencies.

Target, Coca-Cola, Spotify, Foursquare, Clinique, Chase and Allstate are all part of Amber’s brand experience portfolio during her career at agencies including Ogilvy, Saatchi, Chiat Day, T3 and Collins, a brand consultancy where she most recently served as President.

Amber is particularly interested in advancing diversity and gender equality in our industry and beyond.  She started a high school internship program in East Harlem, serves on the board of The North Star Fund, founded of ‘On Parity,’ a women’s gender equality group and founded ‘Behalf,’ a non-profit educators group working to raise a generation of kids without bias.

And one more claim to fame...

Remember ‘Tootie’ from the sitcom Facts of Life? She once threw a pizza party for Amber and all her friends. 

How many people can say that?

James Robinson

Executive Creative Director, New York

James Robinson

Executive Creative Director, New York

Hired in 2015

James stumbled into advertising by working as an actor in some truly terrible Japanese TV commercials in the early ’90s. He somehow parlayed that experience into a job as a copywriter at Mad Dogs & Englishmen NYC.

In 2004, he joined Venables Bell & Partners in San Francisco where he launched Audi’s “Truth in Engineering” campaign, oversaw the ConocoPhillips portfolio of brands and the Meth Project. He moved to twofifteenmccann in 2011 as the creative director on Xbox, rising to ECD and then Co-CCO. Under his tenure, the agency became AOR for Pandora, Hulu and Workday.

James joined The Martin Agency in the summer of 2015 as the first-ever executive creative director of Martin New York where, he sis responsible for building the office and leading the creative on Optimum, Giovanni Rana and KAYAK.In addition to awards from the One Show and Cannes, James’ work has been recognized by the Webby’s and was a winner of TED’s “Ads Worth Spreading.” The campaign he helped create for the Meth Project was cited by the White House as one of the most effective anti-drug programs of all time.

He is quite proud of that last one.

London Management

Olivia Browne

Managing Director, London

Olivia Browne

Managing Director, London

Hired in 2016

She’s half French, was born in Thailand, has lived in 13 countries and moved 24 times. So it is no surprise that Olivia Browne was the perfect fit to lead our agency into the global realm by managing Martin's first office across the pond. 
 
Entrepreneurial and creatively ambitious, Olivia joined The Martin Agency in 2016 as the inaugural managing director of Martin London, where she injects an unsiloed approach and new ways of working to propel the agency into the future.
 
Olivia came to Martin from 4Creative, where she was group business director. Known among her peers for making the seemingly impossible possible, she pushed the agency’s creative boundaries, built up its digital capabilities from scratch and spearheaded its departure from doing predominantly TV ads. Under her leadership, 4Creative won a Cannes Grand Prix, a D&AD black pencil, its first-ever Bafta for a digital idea, and Channel 4 was named Campaign’s Advertiser of the Year in 2015.
 
She shaped Channel 4’s vision to make risky, innovative and culturally potent work. Her work highlights include “Meet the Superhumans,” Channel 4’s Born Risky campaign and the Department for Transport’s Think! Campaign, and making Channel 4 the most influential brand in the UK through risky, innovative, culturally potent work.
 
Olivia graduated from Cambridge in 1999 and started her career at AMV the same year, rising to become a board account director at age 28. She was recently named a winner of the 2016 IPA and Campaign Women of Tomorrow awards.

Daniel Fisher

Executive Creative Director, London

Daniel Fisher

Executive Creative Director, London

Hired in 2015

Daniel Fisher joined our growing global network as the first executive creative director of Martin London at the end of 2015.

A passionate believer that agencies have so much more to offer brands than just advertising, in his career to date he has found himself curating a major art exhibition featuring some of the world’s leading artists for Shelter; designing award-winning retail spaces for The Prince’s Trust and the designer shoe brand TN_29; conceiving and developing a budget product range for Harvey Nichols; and creating a branded TV series for P&G.
 
His most famous piece of work, though, is the “Monty the Penguin” Christmas campaign for John Lewis, which stole hearts across the globe and, together with his work for clients such as The Sunday Times, McDonald’s, DfT and Volkswagen, has helped earn him gongs in every color from all the awards shows, including 6 Grands Prix and 10 Gold Lions at Cannes.
 
Daniel also occasionally writes for Monocle magazine, making regular appearances on their radio station to talk all things advertising, and was once listed in The Guardian as one of the “most influential and innovative people working across arts, culture and the creative industries in the UK.”
 
Prior to joining the agency, Daniel was a creative director at Leo Burnett London, creative director and partner at CHI and Partners, and most recently, the deputy executive creative director at adam&eveDDB.
 
In a former life Daniel used to put on club nights and his first job was working for himself, running his own promotions company at the age of 16.

Leadership

Liz Toms

Director of Business Development

Liz Toms

Director of Business Development

Hired in 2005

In her role as director of business development, Liz oversees the growth of our Richmond headquarters and New York office. In the last 18 months, she has helped grow the agency with wins such as Optimum Cable, Sabra, Kayak, Land O’Lakes and Chevy. What Liz loves most about her job is the pace at which reviews are run, the opportunity to work with the best of the best at the agency, the chase of the next great client, and helping shape each pitch's unique winning strategy.

Prior to this role, Liz focused her considerable talents as group development director on re-imagining account management and helping turn it into a hotbed of creative entrepreneurialism. During this time, she helped institutionalize a robust organic growth initiative, rebuilt the department’s learning and development efforts, revolutionized its approach to staffing, and was the engine behind a dynamic coaching and mentoring effort. 

Earlier in her career at Martin, Liz oversaw the GEICO account, serving as the account director on the business for more than four years. Under her leadership, she nurtured some of the most amazing, award-winning campaigns in GEICO’s history, driving press-worthy and pop culture storylines. The work Liz and her team did helped boost GEICO from the seventh-largest in category sales to the second-largest, with consecutive annual double-digit growth. 

When Liz first joined the agency in 2004, fresh out of New York and with seven years in the fashion industry, she managed the Hanes and Barely There accounts, applying her extensive background to the two brands. In New York, Liz created advertising campaigns for Vera Wang, Chanel, BCBG and The Limited. She worked directly with designer Calvin Klein to launch several campaigns for his global jeans and underwear collections.

Liz graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in history and French. She enjoys traveling to unique places to study their history and is an active supporter of Hollywood Cemetery, one of our country’s oldest cemeteries. In addition, Liz is a mom to two furry felines, a second mom to her niece and nephew, and  a soon-to-be born-again fashion blogger of lizziecoleman.blogspot.com, after much encouragement from her longtime followers.

Dean Jarrett

Chief Communications Officer

Dean Jarrett

Chief Communications Officer

Hired in 1989

Sometimes unorthodox, but always entertaining, Dean is known for shredding it on the dance floor, his Southern expressions and his ability to carry on a conversation with even inanimate objects.

Dean joined the agency in 1989 as a true hybrid of the advertising and public relations communications disciplines. Trained in journalism, he serves as the national media liaison for the agency, working regularly with industry editors and reporters at The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Advertising Age and Adweek, to name a few.

Outside of work, Dean is a member of the National Public Relations Committee of the American Association of Advertising Agencies; a founding member and former chairman of the board of Homeward, Richmond's Regional Response to Homelessness; and served as a board member of The Healing Place, a substance abuse recovery center in Richmond. He also loves golf, cycling and skiing.

In his time at the agency, Dean has taken on a variety of special projects, including helping the GEICO Gecko publish a book. That one, Dean would say, “made him as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs."

Kay Lawson

Director of Recruiting

Kay Lawson

Director of Recruiting

Hired in 1990

Kay joined The Martin Agency in 1990 as a studio artist. The next year, she made the unusual leap from creative to account management. Over the course of ten years, she worked on a variety of accounts, including Virginia Tourism Development Group, Paramount’s Kings Dominion, Healthtex, Pulsar/Seiko Corporation of America and four Marriott Corporation hotels.

She is proudest of supervising three campaigns for the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum, which consistently achieved top advertising honors.

In 2001, Kay realized a long-held dream of moving to London. A lifelong Anglophile, her desire to work in the UK was sealed during an internship with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO in 1997. The move, however, was unrelated to advertising and fulfilled another passion — botanical painting. A private patron awarded her a commission to illustrate the native trees of Great Britain.

It wasn’t long before advertising lured her back. She joined an executive search firm, where she spent a few years placing talented account managers and strategic planners in London’s top advertising agencies.

In 2005, an out-of-the-blue call from The Martin Agency wooed Kay home to be the agency’s recruiter. She subsequently set up and currently heads the recruiting department.

Andy Azula

Executive Creative Director

Andy Azula

Executive Creative Director

Hired in 2004

It took a while for Andy to get used to his celebrity status.

As an art director, he was perfectly comfortable behind the camera, but when UPS insisted that he be the talent in the now famous, 50 spot, ‘Whiteboard Campaign’, Andy couldn’t walk through an airport without stares, selfie requests or an autograph request or two. (Rumor had it that his signature hair was insured.)

Andy’s pop-culture cred peaked when Bill Hader impersonated him on Saturday Night Live.

Before all the glitz and glamor, Andy was best known for being an accomplished creative director. Working on brands like BMW, Nikon, Miller, Timex, Lee Jeans, E*Trade, Budweiser Microsoft and The Wall Street Journal at venerable agencies including Fallon, Goodby & McCann.

At Martin, in addition to his contributions to UPS, Andy led creative on Pizza Hut, Manpower Group, Experian, Exxon, Kraft and Microsoft, and he is now the creative lead on Land O’Lakes and Purina.

With those brands, at those agencies, you’d expect him to rack up some awards, right? Andy has them in spades. From Cannes & Communication Arts to the One Show and Clios, Andy’s work is not only sought after by his clients but also lauded by his peers.

None of this, however, has gone to Andy’s head. He’s often the nicest guy in the room and can disarm the tensest situation with his wry wit and devilish smile.

Andy is still never more content that when he has pencil to paper, sketching. In fact, he’s doing a sketch a day, practically every day this year. You can check them out on his Instagram, @andyazu.