Rob Strasberg, Doner’s global creative chairman, will be leaving advertising to become co-CEO of non-profit Humble Design, a Detroit-based charity that aids families and veterans emerging from homelessness.
The Drum has learned that Strasberg will join the charity, that provides donated furnishings and design services that transform empty residences into more livable, inviting homes.
“In advertising, you sometimes get the feeling you can change the world; I’m just looking to do that full-time,” Rob Strasberg said. “What Humble Design has done in Detroit is a model we can replicate across America. U-Haul Company’s moving trucks, self-storage facilities, logistical expertise, financial support and dedication to philanthropy makes it our ideal partner. Together, we’re going to put a big dent in the universe on the side of good.”
So far, Humble Design has helped 700 Michigan families and, with the backing of U-Haul, will announce plans next month to expand into other US cities. Strasberg will run the charity with his wife, Treger, who founded the charity in 2009.
The 25-year industry veteran leaves his post at Doner, an MDC Partners agency with offices in Detroit, Los Angeles, London and Cleveland, with a vast array of successes. Strasberg was on the vanguard of shaping Doner, founded in Southfield, Michigan in 1937, into a more modern agency. New accounts on his watch included Alfa Romeo, Amazon, Chrysler, Coca-Cola, Dodge, Fiat, JBL, Jeep, JC Penney and Netflix.
Prior to his time at Doner, where he held the titles of co-CEO, Chief Creative Officer and Global Creative Chairman, a role that began last August, Strasberg was part of Crispin Porter + Bogusky in the agency’s original heyday, working on brands including Ikea, Miller Lite, Mini Cooper, Sprite, Truth and Volkswagen. He was named “Top Ten Most Awarded Creative Directors” in the world by Creativity Magazine in 2007.
The lure of doing good, using the skills and experience learned over his career, though, was most important to Strasberg. The support from U-Haul, which formed a national partnership with Humble Design in August, with the goal of eradicating homelessness, helps expand the effort. U-Haul pledged that that it will match every dollar donated to the charity up to $50,000.
“We get to deliver Christmas three days a week,” Treger Strasberg told NBC’s Sunday Today. “We get to deliver a new start and new hope. It’s a lot of love. A lot of kindness and dignity and respect. It’s offered to families who haven’t had a lot of kindness and dignity and respect in the last year.”
Indeed, so far, internal data on the project from the last three years shows that 1 percent of families that receive Humble Design’s help return to homelessness within 12 months. Up to 50 percent of families without that assistance revert back to homelessness in the same timeframe.
“From the beginning, Rob has helped shape the Humble Design brand, social presence and non-profit model,” Treger Strasberg said. “Having his vast experience and creative mind full-time will supercharge our national expansion efforts.”
“The Strasberg family is now completely invested in helping other families. We will continue to bring our family values to this process, raising our two children and building this operation with open hearts. We are grateful U-Haul shares our desire to change lives. I’m very excited for what the future holds,” concluded Treger Strasberg.