Catalin Rusu (Rusu+Bortun): “Digital transformation kills the TV stars”

Business, Creativity, People

On the international Children’s Day, the agency Rusu+Bortun celebrated 10 years of activity, time in which the agency has matured, but succeeded in keeping its fresh and fun spirit, full of creativity. AdHugger took Catalin Rusu, Chief Creative Partner and CEO Rusu+Bortun, at a fast Q&A about the agency and industry’s trends. 

AdHugger: What gave you the courage to be an entrepreneur?

Catalin Rusu: I wouldn’t say it was a courage, just the instinct to make things my way.

AdHugger: How have the challenges changed through the years?

C.R.: Every day is a new challenge when you are a local agency with no political support or having a tobacco client. I am joking, or not…We refuse to work for clients that don’t a have powerful reason for being in the society.

AdHugger: If you could go back in time, would you still do it? Why?

C.R.: Of course I would, it was one of the best decisions of my life. I’m better as an employer than an employee. Actually, I’m the worst employee, self-centric, ego driven, but these were reason to become an empathetic entrepreneur.

AdHugger: How have these years changed you?

C.R.: I’m less young and less restless.

AdHugger: What are the main aspects you are happy for in those 10 years?

C.R.: Almost 1000 projects done, 100 colleagues, 100 clients, great people, some brands grown by us that are having an impact in the society. Some awards. EUR 8 million turnover. A personal and authentic mix of branding, advertising and digital. And, above all, we had fun. It’s a beautiful job to do.

AdHugger: What are your long-term clients and the projects for them you are most proud of?

C.R.: Patru Maini, Europa FM, NEPI, The Institute, ING, Alexander Hughes, Bursa Binelui BCR, Oro Toro, Equatorial (Onpharma and VRunners).

AdHugger: What does advertising mean today to you?

C.R.: The relevant and surprising manifestation of an authentic brand identity.

AdHugger: How have creativity and strategy changed in Romania during these years and how has it impacted Rusu+Bortun?

C.R.: Everything changed after the boom of social media. We were lucky to work branding and advertising projects in the era of social media. The media planning and media buying were changed by Facebook & Google. We had our chance to draw the whole circle for some clients. Digital transformation kills the TV stars. We were absolute beginners in many fields, but passion, strategic thinking and our creative DNA were bio ingredients for our actual mix.

AdHugger: 3 campaigns you wished you did and why.

C.R.: The Tap Project by Droga5. Because it’s a simple idea that changed the way of fund raising.

The Ice bucket challenge. Because of the insight that generated the viral execution.

Hans Brinker Buget Hotel campaigns made by KesselsKramer. Because, as BBH said, when the word zig, you zag.

And, as a bonus, Direct TV. Pure entertaining based on a boring offer.

AdHugger: How would you describe the agency today?

C.R.: Consultancy + Creativity + Intimacy +Authenticity +start-up with Experience +scale-up, the mix between identity and measurable communication.

Ever since its beginning, the agency proposed itself to be different, to represent a statement on the local market. To have courage and show initiative. Therefore, when all the agencies were also offering branding, at „the others” categories, Rusu+Bortun decided to have the reverse approach on things. Initially launched as a branding agency that also does external communication, the agency started by offering in the first place strategy and, only after, creative brand manifestation.

AdHugger: What are your main goals for 2018-2019?

C.R.: Keeping the creative momentum, especially on digital and content projects. Gaining two more big clients. And, not the least, increasing the professional happiness of people that visit often 3 Corbeni Street.

Marc Bortun, Catalin Rusu, Andrei Bortun (from left to right) – Co-Owners Rusu+Bortun

AdHugger: What were the best R+B moments so far?

C.R.: Winning two pitches for P&G (Gillette) and Unilever (Rama) in our first year. The three years’ anniversary, the first one in Corbeni 3, that saw almost all the industry cheering with and for us. The lovely exhibition we had at Apollo 111 celebrating our 10 years on the market. The Prison Fix up project for Patru Main, an example of brand activism made in Romania. Effies, ADC Awards & Fibra, the e-mail from Rebrand100. Our latest teambuilding at Casa Cu Blazoane, Chiojdu, and a fantastic bbq and waterfall experience.