Monday, January 19, 2009

Crispin Porter + Bogusky--what they really are good at

CP+B is a famous advertising agency, probably the top agency today. Most of the time, its their creative that gets the attention and I think that's unfortunate because their creative, while outstanding, is not the only reason, in my opinion, why they are so successful.

They get a lot of attention for "shock" advertising--for Burger King: Whopper Virgins, Buckin' Chicken, Subservient Chicken; Coke Zero, the VW ads (Brooke Shields and the "don't get pregnant to get a German minivan commercial), Microsoft (Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld goofing around), Domino's Pizza (the taste test attack on Subway), etc. All unique, sometimes maybe in questionable taste, but always memorable.

I think, there's more to what they're doing than the shock value. If you look closely you'll see that they're very strategic, very business savvy--not just superbly creative. They promote the "German-ness" of VW (the old VW Beetle that they named "Max"), they do competitive comparisons of products (for both Microsoft vs. Apple as well as Domino's vs. Subway), they actually focus on the taste of BK Whopper (Whopper Virgins), not just the price.

Barry LaBov, CEO
LaBov and Beyond

In our sound byte world, Crispin is the wildly creative, cool ad shop. In reality, without their brilliant business minds, they'd be just another trendy ad agency.


  1. I agree that they have a different perspective on the work which makes them smarter going in. However, what gets them the most attention is the outlandishness of the work. This gets great buzz for CP+B first and the client second.

    When Nike pulled their running business from CP+B and Coke pulled their from them it made me wonder. If a couple of the biggest marketers in the world don't see the value then who does?

  2. Good points.

    The ad business is filled with agencies being fired, CP+B is not exempt.

    As to who sees the value in CP+B, right now, there are more clients wanting them than firing them.

    I agree that they do outlandish work and sometimes I'm uncomfortable with it. But what I feel is not noticed is the business strategy behind that outlandish stuff.

    As for CP+B getting the attention, you're right, they do. But, the clients know that. In fact, they may like getting a shop that's so chic.