2 Minutes With ... Hart Rusen, CCO of SocialDeviant

On tenacity, Crocs and Miller High Life

Hart Rusen has worked as a creative team leader, copywriter and studio manager at ad agencies, design firms and in-house marketing groups of all shapes and sizes. As chief creative officer of SocialDeviant, he leads creative efforts on Labcorp, M Health Fairview, Allegiant Air, Deft and numerous E. & J. Gallo brands.

His previous work highlights include leading creative at Mekanism Seattle, on the Alaska Airlines business and reinventing the T-Mobile brand at Publicis as a creative director and copywriter. At Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Rusen helped resurrect the Cheetos mascot, Chester Cheetah, tapping into his alter ego and landing him in the Super Bowl.

He also helped create a first-person interactive horror website for Doritos—Hotel 626. Rusen's career low golf round is 65, a feat he will most likely never repeat.

We spent two minutes with Hart to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.

Hart, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

Burbank, California (Valley boy). Seattle now.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

An architect, then a musician, securities trader, and finally, a copywriter.

How you realized you were creative.

Sitting behind my drum kit playing music with friends in junior high.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

My dad's handwriting was amazing.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

Getting a C in my first architecture class. Immediately knew I needed a new path.

A visual artist you admire.

David Emmite.

A band or musician you love.

Courtney Barnett.

Your favorite fictional character.

Max Fischer from Rushmore.

Rushmore Trailer
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

McCartney 3, 2, 1.

McCartney 3,2,1
Someone worth following on Instagram.

Chuck d.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

In two minutes? Perspective. Definitely a huge shift there.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on.

Doritos' Hotel 626 interactive horror game. The client brief was minimal, as was the budget, and we created something amazing.

A recent project you're proud of.

During the height of Covid-19, we created numerous rounds of social content for Crocs. The work is a great example of our in-house production team solving challenges on the fly and creating great, targeted content.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Jeff Kling and Jeff Williams' campaign for Miller High Life. I still have the original brand manifesto in my top desk drawer.

Someone else's work that you admired lately.

My friend Ben Carter has been crushing it at Apple.

A main strength of yours as a creative person.

Tenacity. It's the only way to survive.

Your biggest weakness.

Excessive multitasking.  

One thing that always makes you happy.

My yellow lab, Pow! (The exclamation point is part of his name.)

One thing that always makes you sad.

Homelessness and our country's abysmal response to the escalating situation.  

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

No clue whatsoever. Feel very fortunate to have landed here.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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