Ryan Kutscher and Circus Maximus: Founding an Advertising Agency


How Ryan’s journey began

People don’t always stumble into their dream careers by mere circumstance, but that was exactly what happened for Ryan Kutscher. Leaving high school without a clear sense of what he wanted to do, he found himself majoring in economics and minoring in business at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Because his father worked in finance, Ryan was not completely oblivious as to what the business world was all about. However, by the time he was an upperclassman in college, he had learned a lot, particularly about what he didn’t want to do with his life. He couldn’t stand key aspects of finance, such as accounting and business management, and he began second guessing what he had decided to go to college for. Eventually, he dropped out of the school of business, panicking about what he would do after graduation. In the second semester in his senior year, he was presented with the option to take a one-credit course in advertising. He took it without high hopes, simply deciding to make the most of his situation. Soon it became clear, he had found his passion.

Discovering his dream career changed everything 

Ryan described this moment on the Kara Goldin Show podcast. “I had never heard of this,” he said about pursuing advertising as a career, “it never even crossed my mind really that those things, the commercials on tv, were made by people.” After graduation, he took an internship with the Martin Agency. After impressing the agency with a team pitching project, he expected an opportunity to work for them might be extended to him. To his surprise, that wasn’t the case, and he was told to first attend advertising school to build a portfolio. When told there was an ad school in Miami, he leapt at the chance to go. Connections there allowed him to take on an internship with Crispin Porter Bogusky, a nearby agency which happened to be on the cusp of becoming the most popular ad agency of the decade.

In the podcast, Ryan reminisced on the first big campaign that he worked on. “It was for Burger king, and they were launching a new product called ‘chicken fries.’” Burger King wanted to introduce the product as a new “rock and roll” rebellious way to eat chicken. Following their vision, Ryan and his team created an advertisement with a rebellious punk rock and roll band.

How Circus Maximus was born

After working for the advertising agency in Miami, Ryan wanted a change. Unsure of what to do, be turned to freelancing. “I freelanced everywhere I could, from Amsterdam to Asia,” he said. But it still didn’t feel right in the long run. He even accepted a high position as chief creative officer for a large agency in New York. That’s when he decided he wanted to work for himself. He still had a vision for helping people with advertising, which led him to founding his own agency, Circus Maximus.

Though the methods of advertising and reaching consumers have changed a lot over the years, Ryan has gained a lot of knowledge in the field. “A great campaign is one that knows exactly what it’s trying to do and then does it,” Ryan told Kara. This is what he helps people accomplish through Circus Maximus. “We help agencies get their stories straight and tell them interestingly,” he said. According to Ryan, a good story should answer why your brand exists, what makes your product or service uniquely different and interesting, who your brand is for, why the world needs your product or service, and what the driving purpose is for your brand.

Lessons learned along the way

From being concerned about life after college to founding his own agency, Ryan Kutscher has learned a lot over the years. To end his talk with Kara Goldin, Ryan dropped two pieces of advice he has found most valuable to him throughout his career. “One is, if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” he noted. “The other is pick people who fit your future and not your past.”

Ryan Kutscher, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of the advertising agency Circus Maximus, is known for his knowledge and experience in advertising. He can be followed on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. More information about Circus Maximus is available on their website at https://www.circusmaximus.com/, or via LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/circus-maximus/


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