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Hans&Eric_Final_2x3.jpgVSA Partners, the 28-year-old branding firm, took steps Monday to expand its foray into the consumer advertising business. VSA said it has brought on board two new executive creative directors -- Hans Hansen and Eric Sorensen -- in its Minneapolis office. VSA also has major outposts in Chicago and New York.

Both Hansen and Sorensen will work in tandem with VSA's new Minneapolis-based chief operating officer John Colasanti to expand the firm's consumer advertising efforts. Hansen and Sorensen were most recently group creative directors at Fallon/Minneapolis, where for the past four years they handled creative work for clients such as Citibank, Holiday Inn, Chrysler and Traveler's Insurance. Each also previously worked with Colasanti at Carmichael Lynch/Minneapolis for clients such as Porsche, Northwest Airlines and Harley-Davidson. "There are very few creative teams out there that can match what Hans and Eric have accomplished for the brands they've worked on across the vast media landscape," said VSA partner and CEO Dana Arnett.

John Colasanti has joined VSA Partners Inc. as chief operating officer. He was previously CEO and managing partner of Carmichael Lynch/Minneapolis. He is credited with helping steer Carmichael Lynch from a regional, print-focused shop to a nationally-recognized, multi-disciplined agency serving clients ranging from Subaru to Northwest Airlines.

At VSA, Colasanti will help expand the branding firm's consumer-facing capability. "With John on board, we're formalizing our advertising offering," said VSA partner and CEO Dana Arnett. Colasanti believes VSA's capabilities are in step with the new marketing landscape: "People look beyond mere products when making decision; they care about how a company conducts itself."

VSA Partners famously designed the exquisite torch logo that was for a brief while the symbol for Chicago's failed Olympic bid. But the logo was found to violate International Olympic Committee rules and was replaced with a much less impressive star logo,also designed by VSA, which has offices in Chicago, Minneapolis and New York.

As of Monday, VSA Partners/Chicago, one of the city's hottest branding and design firms, will have a new River North address -- 600 W. Chicago Ave. VSA's new 30,000-square-foot space is in one of the buildings that was formerly part of the defunct Montgomery Ward headquarters compound. In addition to VSA, the building houses a David Barton gym, Japonais restaurant, condos and, per VSA President James Koval, a number of other tech-savvy tenants.

VSA is moving from a 27,000-square-foot space at 1347 S. State, which was spread over two-floors. Everyone will be on one floor at the new address -- a plus that made the new location especially attractive, said Koval. That and the new address' many high-tech features.

Among other things, VSA Partners is famous for having designed Chicago's original Olympic logo -- an elegant torch in a range of colors that suggested the city's close ties to the land and the water. Unfortunately that logo had to be abruptly dumped when the International Olympic Committee reminded the Chicago 2016 organizing committee that no city bidding for the Olympics is allowed to use any iconic Olympic imagery in their branding efforts until it has been designated an Olympic host city. VSA came up with a replacement logo now in use that features a large star intended to call to mind Chicago's official flag.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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