Todd Marcum

President / Copywriter

Love, quite simply, is Todd’s motivator and unique advertising advantage. His love for communication fuels a passion for the creative process, and his love for creating client impact is what drove Todd to co-found Access. As a young media professional, Todd determined he was too gullible to be a journalist, but had the perfect amount of innocent curiosity to dive head first into every client project. Todd enjoys watching Access grow with every award-winning campaign and new hire (including two employees he taught as young children in Sunday school class). Todd is the recipient of the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal for lifetime contributions to the advertising industry and a member of the Marshall University School of Journalism and Mass Communications Hall of Fame. True to his desire that advertising be recognized as a major cultural influencer, Todd also concepted, wrote, and co-produced “Shine,” a full-length documentary capturing the rich advertising and public relations history of Southwest Virginia.

Career sans advertising

Game show host. Communications, in some form, is all I ever wanted to do.


Todd's Blog Posts

You Can’t Buy Health Care This Good

Imagine you’re working two jobs. In the morning, you’re landscaping and in the evenings, you serve the public at a fast food restaurant. You make $12 an hour. You keep ahead of your bills, but just barely. Health care? Maybe one of your employers offers it and maybe they don’t. It really doesn’t matter, because

A Winning Strategy from Athletic Director Meg Stevens

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Meg Stevens, of Averett University in Danville, address our Lead Virginia session regarding her guiding strategy as athletic director. What she had to say made a lot of sense for succeeding in sports and business.  “Our athletic department runs on a simple formula. Three-Two-One,” remarked Stevens. “Number three.

10 Portfolio Presentation Tips for New Graduates

Every year, I review portfolios at universities and events hosted by our regional advertising club. It’s fun to see the work of the young people. Some of it is amazing. Some of it is a work in progress. But the promise of these young people is what is inspiring. Truth be told, I had no

Tommy Holcomb, 2019 Silver Medal Award Recipient

It was my pleasure to present a long overdue honor at the Western Virginia American Advertising Awards to master jingle creator Tommy Holcomb. The event was held at the Market Building on March 1.  The American Advertising Federation’s Silver Media Award Program is a nationally  recognized award that honors men and women who have made outstanding

The 2019 Obligatory Super Bowl Blog

If you are a fan of defensive football with a deep understanding of the cover two defense, you may have really enjoyed the Super Bowl. The problem is that the vast majority of people who watch the Super Bowl don’t want to see that stuff. They want exciting offensive plays, scores rolling up like a

Painting a Brighter Future Black at Ford

“So let the other guys keep dreaming about the future. We’ll be the ones building it.”   The truth of the matter is, the roads of a local ad agency and the giant automotive industry seldom converge. True, Access has done a couple local and regional car dealership commercials over the years. And, yeah, I

Obligatory Super Bowl Ads Blog

If you like football, Super Bowl LII was as good of a game as you could ever wish to see. Offensive numbers rolled up like the score on a pinball machine, there were more passes to quarterbacks than punts, and the Philadelphia Eagles upset the New England Patriots to win their first Super Bowl 41-33.

Listen up: The podcast arrives.

Each morning, rain or shine, I harness up my 10-year-old redbone hound for a three-mile trek through our neighborhood. But we never walk alone.   I am one of the 42 million Americans who listen to podcasts weekly.  That’s more than five times the number that go to the movies.  A podcast is basically on-demand

An Unexpected Burst of Inspiration

I was recently reviewing a video a project on Vimeo. After I had moved on to checking my email, the website auto advanced to the next video chosen at random. Up came this delightful little gem and it pulled me right in. If you have eight minutes or so to spare, I’ll be glad to

Requiem for Jim Bob

Jim Webster was my first boss in the advertising agency business. He passed recently following unexpected complications after surgery. He’s what you would describe as a “helluva guy.” I’d like to share a few recollections of the five years I spent with Jim. Back in 1985, I joined Associated Advertising as a junior copywriter.  A

The Obligatory Favorite Super Bowl Commercial Review

For many Americans, the name of the game is the commercials. As customary as the Patriots playing in the Big Game, it’s time for the annual Access staff’s picks for their favorite Super Bowl commercials. CEO Tony Pearman said, “As I age and my sensibilities and experiences change, I find myself gravitating more to storytelling

Do you really need to issue an RFP?

Investopedia defines an RFP (request for proposal) as a type of bidding solicitation in which a company or organization announces that funding is available for a particular project or program, and companies can place bids for the project’s completion. Most often, it can also be described as a huge investment of time and resources that

Remember the Time

It’s Access’ 20th anniversary. We hope you’re enjoying the 20 for 20 video series we did on some of our favorite projects, but many of my recollections over the past 20 years have little to do with advertising. I am proud that almost from the very start we have been a part of many of

What Can Advertisers Learn From New Global Trends: Part 2

This is the second part of a blog  based on Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report  which I learned about from a very good Business Wire blog, Tempo.  If you missed part 1, you can click here to get caught up.   As previously discussed, imagery is a critical part of communicating with buyers. Image

What Can Advertisers Learn From New Global Trends: Part 1

By Todd Marcum, President I am beholding to Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends report and from a very good Tempo Blog from Business Wire that called the study to my attention and gave some excellent perspective and provided a good take on global PR and marketing value and tactics based on the study. There is

Tips for Taking your Cut at Blogging

By Todd Marcum, President Major League Baseball teams will begin opening their season over this weekend, which to baseball enthusiasts symbolizes that life is good and all things are possible. I am an avid fan of the sport and one of the things I enjoy is collecting vintage baseball cards. Like really old. A few

Kill the PowerPoint Presentation Messenger

By Todd Marcum, President “Every deck is someone’s baby and they’re the only ones in the room who don’t know it’s ugly.” –Amit Gurnani, Publicis Seattle I read a fair amount of industry blogs. Some of them are pretty popular, others fairly obscure. This article on the impeding demise of the PowerPoint deck as a presentation tool

Flygate: nothing up in the air about it

By Todd Marcum, President Most of the time we’re really happy when we help a client make national news. Saturday was an exception. The News Guardians, which joins jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, and Valley Highlands on a list of misnomers, reported that a drone was spying on an open conservative gathering on Mill Mountain. This item

Good Will Bunting: Close up reflections on Will Ferrell’s baseball odyssey

By Todd Marcum, President I am a baseball freak. I am one of those guys you simply don’t want to get on the subject. I can name the 1906 Cubs infield, am delighted to engage a debate on why the 1990 Reds are underrated and have been known to lug The Baseball Register, a giant

Thoughts on the Unskippable Ad

By Todd Marcum, President Well, if you haven’t seen it, you will. For a few days it’s going to be as ubiquitous as the white and gold (blue and black?) dress. It’s GEICO’s unskippable ad. We had a little fun talking about it around the office and thought we would share our thoughts. More people

Happy New Holiday! Go get yourself a gift!

By Todd Marcum, President With the conspicuous consumption of the holiday season looming and visions of Black Friday sales dancing like sugar plums in shopper’s heads, the idea of another new holiday has been gaining quiet traction among American retailers. A new holiday to honor another patriot? A civil rights leader? A prominent date in

Lessons from “Factory Man”

By Todd Marcum, President I enjoyed reading “Factory Man,” Beth Macy’s fine chronicle of the furniture industry’s rise and demise in our region. It’s a great business cook, a compelling historic novel, and an interesting look at the character and characters that make our part of the world special. Beth’s first effort landed on the

Icon from The Daisy Ad revisited

By Todd Marcum, President Check out this interesting article from The Arizona Republic interviewing the star of LBJ’s “Daisy” television commercial. Like Apple’s famed 1984 commercial, it aired only once but had such a significant impact that it became a part of advertising lore. It is considered among the first political attack ads and remains

Could Warner/Chappell End Up Singing the Birthday Blues?

By Todd Marcum As an ad agency, we have to be pretty diligent about copyright infringement and terms and conditions. Even a small mistake could create a legal nightmare. As we have many August birthdays coming up for our staff, we have always been careful about singing the traditional “Happy Birthday to You,” because it

The writing on the Wall.

I had the pleasure of visiting one of the great marketing success stories in America on a recent vacation chaperoning church youth. We stopped by Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. It’s a fine tourist trap, which is something I can well appreciate, but the backstory is one every marketer should know. In 1931, Ted

Reporting on a declining trend: The falling enrollment of the modern J-School.

By Todd Marcum  Collectively, enrollments in journalism and communication schools nationwide fell two years in a row for the first time in two decades, according to an annual study conducted by the University of Georgia’s James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research. Some schools have seen consistent double digit tumbles

Waiting on the plane.

Full disclosure.  Roanoke Regional Airport is a client but my experience is the same any other consumer might have had in a similar situation. I’m sitting in the newly remodeled Roanoke Regional Airport at 7:10 on a Saturday morning. I’m with my family and we’re all preparing for a nice little getaway in Mexico, but

Unlike! Teenagers say they don’t like Facebook. And they’re not doing anything about it.

In the beginning, social media was almost completely fluid.  Literally, by the time you found out about it the herd had moved on.  MySpace and Friendster were among the first portals to really become sticky, but even they faded. Now, there’s still the new shooting star…some like Pinterest seem to engage a larger audience…others like

I nearly shipped my pants.

I really liked Kmart’s “Ship my pants” commercial. In fact, I laughed out loud. It appeals to my sophisticated sense of humor.  I showed it to my teenage son and daughter. They laughed out loud, too. That said, I am reminded of something Bob Garfield said a few years ago. “Just because something is funny

Thinkers wanted.

I was at a breakfast meeting recently with a lot of people who like to talk about business. I mean really like to talk business.  We find it exciting and consider the proper, principled conduct in business part of our purpose.  Yep. BizGeeks. The conversation started with the recent freefall in the price of precious

Telecommuting vs. Face-to-Face Communication

 Todd Marcum  There are a few clients I work with that have traditionally allowed telecommuting but many are stepping away from it, and not because employees are abusing the privilege.  I think it is universally accepted that a motivated employee will work a little extra at home just to make sure they are earning their

Just a reminder that time flies.

Sometime around the first year we were in business…if memory serves, I think it was when the lovely and talented Kris Bailey joined us to swell the Access payroll to three…we got one of those letters about sponsoring a child for a few bucks a month.  Little Bhupendra Bahadur from Nepal was the child we

Teen angst: Why doesn’t Sam have more Facebook friends?

Nobody likes Sam. She gets attention, for sure, but I have yet to met anyone who doesn’t bristle at the mention of the Pippi-Longstocking-esqe Ntelos spokesteen. You would think it would be a blow to her self-image, but she seems to be doing fine, texting her BFFs and enjoying the social media features of her

A funny thing happened at the Chili’s in Williamsburg.

My family had just gone to The College of William & Mary for a tour for my son. We decided to cap the day off with a trip to our favorite mega restaurant, Chili’s. Somewhere between the chips and salsa and the check, my daughter asked if I would like to share a piece of