Crispin Porter & Bogusky (US)

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Crispin Porter & Bogusky established a reputation during the 2000s as one of the hottest creative agencies in the US, with a special talent for developing memorable, often brash, occasionally bizarre ideas. The agency first made its name with a string of startling and original ads for Burger King, and these proved a springboard to attract a set of even more prestigious clients. The agency steadily expanded its footprint, with additional outposts in the US as well as subsidiaries in Europe. However its Canadian office was split off again in 2012 because of client conflicts. It remains one of the industry's most admired shops, although the cult-like devotion it originally inspired among staff and its many fans has steadily faded since 2010. It is still perhaps the best-known subsidiary of marketing services group MDC Partners but faces a growing challenge for supremacy there from stablemates 72andSunny and Anomaly.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Dec 2017: Crispin Porter & Bogusky filled two key vacancies in its London office. Helen James joins from BBH to become managing director while Dan Watts was recruited from Channel 4's inhouse unit 4creative as chief creative officer. They replace Richard Pinder and Dave Buonaguidi respectively, both of whom left the agency earlier this year.

Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Dec 2017: Crispin Porter & Bogusky is to shutter its original outpost in Miami in March next year, and will consolidate all remaining staff and accounts at either its Boulder, Colorado HQ or second-string outpost in Los Angeles. "This is something we've been talking about for a long, long time and, ultimately, I have been convinced that it's the best thing for the agency, but it still breaks my heart," agency chairman Chuck Porter told AdAge. "With the way the industry and the economy is and the way things have evolved, it just no longer makes sense to have three offices in the US. It's not like we have a ton of clients in Miami and it just seemed smarter to consolidate."

Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Sep 2017: The Swedes are taking over at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. Following on from the appointment of Forsman & Bodenfors' Erik Sollenberg as CEO of CP&B, the agency has recruited veteran creative Linus Karlsson to become global CCO. Until earlier this year he was global creative chief of McCann's Chevrolet agency Commonwealth, but left to co-found New York independent Ming Utility & Entertainment. That business has been acquired by MDC Partners. Karlsson's previous roles include senior creative positions at Fallon and Mother New York.

Adbrands Weekly Update 24th Aug 2017: Crispin Porter & Bogusky named Erik Sollenberg, previously leader of its recently acquired Swedish partner Forsman & Bodenfors, as group CEO. It's an unexpectedly bold choice by CP&B chairman Chuck Porter, not least because Sollenberg has very limited experience of the US market. He will share the CEO role with incumbent Lori Senecal until she steps down as planned at the end of the year. Silla Levin moves up to become CEO of F&B in Stockholm. In other news, one account that definitely isn't going anywhere anytime soon is Domino's Pizza in the US. The pizza delivery specialist has just renewed its contract with current agency CP&B until 2020 at the earliest.

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Jul 2017: Crispin Porter & Bogusky's London office faces fresh turmoil following the resignation of CEO Richard Pinder, who said he plans to "return to the entrepreneurial life". CP&B London's creative chief Dave Buonaguidi is also leaving this month, along with director of operations Arjun Singh. Global CEO Lori Senecal is also set to depart at the end of the year and her successor has yet to be found. (Does Pinder's departure suggest that he didn't make that short-list?)

Adbrands Weekly Update 18th May 2017: CP&B global CEO Lori Senecal is to step down from that role at the end of this year and will leave the ad industry. A successor will be appointed in due course, but in the mean time, CP&B has completed the creation of a team of local leaders to oversee each of the agency's regional outposts. Danielle Aldrich was promoted to president of CP&B's main offices in Boulder, Colorado and Los Angeles.

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Background

Free to all users | see full profile for current activities: Although it feels like a hot new agency, CPB actually celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015. It was founded by Sam Crispin in 1965 when he bought out the Miami office of what was then Arthur Mogge Advertising. He renamed it Samuel B Crispin & Associates. He was later joined in the business by son Charles, and they recruited copywriter Chuck Porter in 1987. Renamed Crispin & Porter, the agency continued to handle mainly regional accounts in Florida. Sam Crispin retired in 1990 (and died in 2015 at the age of 90); Charles Crispin left in 1993 (to join the insurance industry). In their place, Chuck Porter made rising talent Alex Bogusky a partner in 1997, and the agency's name changed again to Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

Fed by Bogusky's irreverent and often controversial ideas, the shop steadily picked up speed. A key development was a high profile but low-earning brief to handle the state of Florida's anti-smoking account. One of the ensuing ads featured cigarette industry leaders testifying earnestly before Congress accompanied by a laugh track. Another depicted a fake awards show set in Hell, in which awards such as Greatest Number of Deaths in a Single Year were handed out to former tobacco executives. This campaign won CPB its first national account, from newly formed anti-smoking body American Legacy. A series of hard-hitting, bitterly ironic ads followed, based around the tag line "what if tobacco ads told the truth?”, using body bags as stand-ins for the people usually depicted in tobacco ads.

In 2001, the agency sold a 49% stake to marketing services group MDC Partners to fund further growth. (That holding increased to 77% in 2007, and then to full ownership in 2009). Just days later the shop was rewarded with the brief to launch Mini cars in the US. CPB did wonders with a comparatively limited budget. Other major accounts have followed, although the agency has maintained a balance between national and local business. Among the few missteps was the launch of a California office in 2001 (closed in 2003). If there is a threat to CPB's current hit run, it is that attention-grabbing ads do not always translate into bottom line profit for clients. Molson and Ikea, for example, two important clients in the early 2000s, both moved on despite strong creative work.

However, the shop also gained a reputation for having a special talent for reaching the elusive young adult market. The Burger King account in particular grabbed attention with a number of wholly out-of-the-ordinary and often bizarre ideas. Amongst these was Subservient Chicken, a website which illustrates BK's "Have It Your Way" offer by allowing users to issue random instructions of their own choosing to a guy dressed in a chicken suit. That and other ads earned CPB numerous accolades in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, the group scored its most prestigious account to-date when it won German motoring giant Volkswagen in North America. (The agency resigned Mini to avoid conflicts).

An even bigger project walked through the door in 2008, when CPB was handed a $300m global assignment for Microsoft, although the first ads from the brief, featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, were widely panned. The "I'm a PC" campaign proved more bearable, but didn't come close to matching the power of Apple's "PC vs Mac" ads. Even so, CP&B gradually expanded its dominance of Microsoft's agency roster to become the software giant's favoured marketing partner until 2014. See full profile for current activities


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