R/GA Nabs JWT’s Rasmussen for Nike

NEW YORK R/GA has hired JWT creative director Robert Rasmussen as lead creative on its Nike account.

Rasmussen, 38, spent two years at JWT, where he was creative director on the JetBlue account. He followed Ty Montague to JWT after seven years at independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and New York, where he also worked on Nike and other accounts.

At Interpublic Group’s R/GA, Rasmussen will be an executive creative director for the agency’s key Nike client, in charge of initiatives including Nike+, Nike Running and Nike Women. He reports to R/GA chief creative officer for North America Nick Law, who had led the Nike account.

The hiring is the latest in a string of new recruits to R/GA that have traditional agency experience. Law said Rasmussen had the right mix of ad and interactive expertise as the agency looks to expand its role with clients like Nike.

“He understood where R/GA is as an agency compared to all the other agencies,” he said. “He understood that we put equal importance on the utility part and the narrative and we weren’t led by one or the other.”

R/GA has been on a roll with Nike. Its work on Nike+, a digital application and social network for runners, won numerous industry awards, including the Cyber and Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes. Law said Rasmussen’s familiarity with “the Nike culture” would be a particular benefit.

“It’s always been a narrative brand, but the power of its future lies in this convergent story,” he said.

Rasmussen is credited with an interactive breakthrough when he worked on the Sega account at Wieden. In 2004, his team created a wide-ranging alternate reality game called Beta-7 to promote Sega’s ESPN NFL Football game. It used blogs, viral video and traditional media to pull in 2 million participants. The campaign won the Grand Clio that year.