Category Archives: Crispin Porter + Bogusky

Bogusky, the Tim Burton of advertising, gives career advice


If you work in advertising you know Alex Bogusky as an icon, chief of Crispin Porter + Bogusky who does aggressive things with hamburgers. Bogusky dreams up campaigns with a disturbing psychological bent designed to yank the media. He has cool hair, a motorcycle with a rack for a mountain bike on the back, and draws the kind of love-hate idolatry that only an industry obsessed with eating its young can muster. If you see an ad that gives you a nightmare, but a warm fuzzy nightmare like you’re almost drowning and kind of enjoying it, CP+B probably did it. We’re reluctant to write about him for fear it looks like we’re kissing his ass.

Yet … Bogusky just posted the best career advice we’ve ever read. Check it here. A snippet:

Be honest. Be respectful. Be good. Set positive goals for yourself that can benefit lots of people. You’ll have lots of support because what’s good for you is good for them. Some people think they have to knock somebody else to get into a top spot. I’ve known people that thought they needed to knock me down to get up the ladder. It rarely works that way because there is infinite room for success and you’ll just get distracted from your true goals.

Don’t exaggerate. Don’t complicate. Very humble versions of success can lead to a wonderful life adventure. You don’t have to make it seem grand for it to become grand as it becomes reality.

Simplify. I think two sentences should be enough to hold your life’s professional dream.

It’s beautiful stuff. Via Darryl Ohrt.

The little threat behind Bogusky’s open conversation


Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the agency behind the creepy King and subservient chicken, has followed Skittles by relaunching its web site as a conversational hub — 80% feeds of what others are tweeting or blogging about it. Tim Leberecht at CNET explains that this is more than a trend; it also creates a potential threat for marketers everywhere.

After all, if a conversational hub is intriguing, what happens if someone else builds one for your brand? For example, Leberecht says, imagine “if McDonald’s suddenly saw itself confronted with a site aggregating blogs, videos, news, and tweets, all about but not by McDonald’s?” Leberecht goes on to suggest brands would have little legal ground for fighting this, since they can control their own intellectual property but not the conversations compiled elsewhere.

Aggregation, it seems, opens the doors for anyone to erect an exciting hub about a topic. Google has become the world’s largest case study of offering up content without ownership. If what people say about you has become more important than what you say, what happens if someone else gains control of your conversation first?

Page and clean coal not found


Clean energy is a controversial topic; it’s easy to say you don’t like coal, but coal is powering about half the juice running through your office or home at this instant. Regardless of your position, Crispin Porter + Bogusky strikes a chord for the Alliance for Climate Protection by placing anti-coal banners on web 404 pages.

Brilliant media buy matching a web user’s disappointment over not finding a web page with a PR spin. Via Brian Morrissey.

Burger King to Facebook: Cancel our campaign and you’ll be our best friend

Here’s a nice roundup from Slate on Burger King’s latest bizarre campaign for the creepy King character. Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the devilish Penn & Teller of ad agencies, launched a Facebook application inviting users to “sacrifice” 10 friends in exchange for a free burger. The campaign went wild until Facebook shut it down, claiming it violated user terms or some such by notifying online “friends” when they had been unfriended.

The campaign played off of the superficial nature of many online connections, but also proves advertising is now a seed to get large networks — or best, mainstream media reporters — writing about you. The story got press in The Wall Street Journal and Ad Age.

Hm. Any chance Facebook was in on this game from stage 1 and played along to “cancel” it for its own buzz? Naw. That would be just too clever, right Crispin?

Why Microsoft’s $300 million ‘huh?’ isn’t so stupid

You’ve probably heard this ad sucks. Microsoft began calling reporters Friday to try to explain this spot with Jerry Seinfeld, launched with $300 million of ad fanfare to make Microsoft seem hipper (and cover up the mistakes of the Vista debacle). The ad was produced by Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Seems few people got it. Or did they?

Crispin is one of those agencies with a knack for mind-bending, meta-self-referential type images that kind of bother you when you watch. Geez, clowns selling shoes, strange banter about leather from a retired comedian, a software executive wiggling his bottom in a parking lot … sounds like the setup for a Stephen King novel. The ad doesn’t mention Microsoft until the very end but you can’t help watching, mesmerized at what looks like an acting train wreck. Like bizarre spots for the Burger King “King,” Volkswagen’s demonish voice-in-your-head Fast, Wrangler’s dead floating woman or Scion’s murderous little deviants, the message seems to squirm around in your gut.

Many years ago we watched the 1989 cult movie Communion, in which Christopher Walken meets space aliens/has a mental breakdown. The images were eerie and disturbing. Brilliant moonlight that might be beams from alien spacecraft. Little goblins at the foot of the bed. Glowing black eyes within masks, sneaking up on Walken in the reflection of a computer screen as he begins to write his meta, self-referential novel. We couldn’t get it out of our mind.

Sort of like Bill Gates taking a shower with his clothes on.