We don’t want to be your agency


Octane is the advertising solution for those who have little use for an “agency of record.”

Our clients want to work on a project basis. They crave smarter answers and greater simplicity, which is precisely why Octane offers capability without complexity and our clients get big agency results without the big agency.

  Creativity uncomplicated

Say goodbye to jargon, layers, and extraneous processes.


At Octane, we embrace simplicity.

In our experience the simplest and most surprising ideas are the ones that make brands the most interesting. And sell like crazy.

No “media-agnostic throughput that delivers multi-platform scalability”

What’s that even mean? We’ve been in advertising a long time and we don’t know. What we do know is that ad agencies have made things way too complicated. Creative content is like orange juice—the more processes it gets strained through, the worse it gets. That’s why we remove the gobbledygook that gets in the way of doing good work and pass the savings on to you.

Practice makes perfect popcorn

We helped the leading brand of popcorn seasoning play to its strengths. Literally.


“Great example of a brand that understands how to invite the consumer to virtually rehearse consuming the product." Becarren Schultz, Ameritest

The website we created for Kernel Season’s gives visitors the ability to play with mixing and matching flavors online. It also allows them to share their personalized blends via social media.

Is this kind of “virtual rehearsal” good? You bet. It fires the mirror neurons of the brain, which predisposes the visitor to experiencing Kernel Season’s firsthand—i.e. they’ll want to buy. Plus, it’s fun. The site gives a memorably goofy name to each flavor combination created.

Visit kernelseasons.com


A half century of experience

In a business where some creative teams can’t work together for a week, Ross Buchanan and Dave Straus have done it for decades.

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Would you believe they even went to the same high school?

It’s true. Ross and Dave went to the same Chicago high school but never really met until Ogilvy in the mid-1990s. Since then they have worked on brands both big and small and amassed extensive experience in consumer packaged goods, a category with increasing interest from private equity and venture capital firms.

Ross Buchanan, Creative Director/Writer/Founder

Ross is an award-winning copywriter, agency creative director and founder of Octane Chicago. For more than two decades he helped shape brands as varied as Andersen Windows, Foster’s Lager, Toro, Kraft, International Trucks, Harris Bank, Sears, Dairy Queen, BASF, Frigidaire and Northwestern Mutual for agencies that included Campbell Mithun, Ogilvy, and JWT. Over the course of his career his work was showcased in the ADDYs, Adweek, Advertising Age, Creativity, Print and the Kelly Awards. One of his spots even won a prestigious animation award at the Festival International du Film d’Animation d’Annecy. A cum laude graduate of Amherst College, Ross once considered becoming a lawyer. Instead, he chose a happier career path that allows him to argue the relative merits of “crispy” versus “crunchy."

See more work from Ross at: ross-buchanan.com

Ross on LinkedIn

Dave Straus, Creative Director/Art Director

Not many agency creative directors can stand toe-to-toe with the likes of District 9 screenwriter Neill Blomkamp or Where the Wild Things Are director Spike Jonze, but Dave’s animated film Futagoyaro acquitted itself quite nicely in the face of such competition at New York’s No Spot Short Film Festival. An award winning art director with a passion for vintage Japanese pop culture, it is appropriate that Dave started his career at Leo Burnett-Kyodo in Tokyo not long after graduating the University of Illinois. After four years, he returned stateside to work for leading agencies that included Ogilvy, JWT, Element 79, and VSA Partners and served clients that ranged from Foster’s Lager and Kraft to Gatorade and Sears. Despite over two decades of success shaping brands in the US, Dave proves you can take the boy out of Japan, but you can’t take the Japan out of the boy—ask him about his Godzilla collection.

See Dave's portfolio at: davestraus.com

Dave on LinkedIn

High capability. Low overhead.

Not surprisingly, our forte is creative.

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We love to make commercials, online content, websites, print and even radio.

We collaborate with experts, particularly in the areas of production, technology and strategy. True to our CPG experience, we have particularly strong relationships with a strategy company founded by a former head of McKinsey’s Consumer/Retail practice in the Midwest and one of the leading advertising research and testing companies. Let us help you with:


Creative Development and Production of Television, Digital, Film, Print, Out-Of-Home, Radio, and Advertising Strategy


Branded Content, Branded Promotions, Social Platform Programs


Websites, Brand Identity, Logo Design


Name Generation, Creative Problem Solving, Product Development

If you would like to collaborate with us, shoot us an email or give us a call.