Hart Rusen Joins Chicago’s SOCIALDEVIANT as Chief Creative Officer – Agency Opens In-House Production Studio


By Egotist / /

Chicago agency SOCIALDEVIANT is doubling down on its commitment to creativity by hiring Hart Rusen as its Chief Creative Officer, effective immediately. In addition, the agency is building out its own content production studio, as part of the agency leadership’s focus on making and serving brands with a new form of creativity.

A 20+ year industry vet, Rusen has created Cannes Lion-winning and Super Bowl-scoring work for such brands as Doritos and Cheetos respectively, at such agencies as Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Publicis and Mekanism.

“Over the past seven years, we’ve built a highly successful marketing agency that was designed to be flat, fast, left- and right-brained and entirely focused on delivering value in a socially connected world. In effect, doing more with less,” said CEO and founder Marc Landsberg. “Just look at our impressive client roster, as well a swelling new business pipeline that’s resulted in a year-over-year revenue surge of nearly 70 percent.”

Over the past 12 months, SOCIALDEVIANT added assignments from Lagunitas, CareerBuilder, Disney Channel, E & .J. Gallo Winery and Sam’s Club to a roster that includes Procter & Gamble, Red Wing Shoes and Hanna Andersson. Its most recent win is Forge Global, the leading San-Francisco-based stock market for private companies.

To lean into its creative passion and serve clients with ever increasing levels of creative excellence, Landsberg and SOCIALDEVIANT President Linda Johnson have redefined the company’s go-to-market strategy, with Landsberg articulating a new manifesto triggered by his belief that “modern brands need to do more with less. And that requires smart, mighty, fast ideas, made collaboratively and collectively.”

In defining the SOCIALDEVIANT ethos, Landsberg added, “We are makers. We turn thoughts into things. Smart, strategic, brand-right thoughts into funny, gripping, awesome things. Because brands are stories. And stories are content. So let’s make our dent. Let’s make stories that matter. Let’s obsess about building brands through smart narrative and content.”

To infuse this spirit of “maker mojo” into the agency, Landsberg and Johnson focused on hiring a Chief Creative Officer who is a motivator and maker; someone who’s obsessed with driving growth and ideas.

Enter Hart Rusen, who has worked as a team leader and writer at ad agencies, design firms and in-house marketing groups of all shapes and sizes for more than 20 years. Highlights include his leading creative efforts at Mekanism to unite Alaska Airlines and Virgin America. As Group Creative Director at Publicis, he helped the T-Mobile brand flourish after a failed acquisition by AT&T. At Goodby, he resurrected the Cheetos mascot, Chester Cheetah, tapping into his alter ego and landing him on the Super Bowl. He also helped create a first-person interactive horror website for Doritos, “Hotel 626,” which won numerous Cannes Lions, One Show and D&AD honors. Other clients benefiting from his sharp and strategic creative skills include Hyundai, HP, Budweiser, REI, Comcast, Nike, Oregon Lottery, Boeing and Papa Murphy’s. Check out his portfolio at https://www.behance.net/HartRusen.

“From my first meetings with Marc and Linda, I knew they were building something special with SOCIALDEVIANT and I really wanted to be a part of it,” said Rusen. “Especially when they talked about their willingness to take risks and place big bets. I share their conviction to develop creative work that pushes boundaries, as well as delivers. We won’t settle for the mundane. We want our brand stories to engage, entertain and inspire.”

Coinciding with Rusen’s hire, SOCIALDEVIANT has taken over 2,400 feet of adjacent space in its downtown Chicago headquarters to build out its own production studio: All Oars. This will allow the agency to expand and enhance its creative and content production capabilities, including live-action production, photo & art production, motion design/ animation, post-production, and more.

“With Hart onboard and with the opening of our new studio, we’re now able to demonstrate that we are makers in every sense of the word,” said Johnson.



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