Jan 30, 2007

The Fault, Dear Jonah, Is Not In The Stars, But In Ourselves

G. Parker's favorite ad columnist, Jonah Bloom at Ad Age, delivers a passioned defense of Crispin, Porter & Bogusky in this weeks column.

Much of what he has to say is true: a lot of people are jealous of them, a lot of the sniping is sour grapes, blah, blah, blah, but man alive does he pour it on. I mean Mom Bogusky wouldn't have written something so fawning. Take this snippet, for instance:

Crispin ads aren't relatively inoffensive little sales presentations like so many of today's spots. They are an event in and of themselves, almost always getting a brand noticed.
"They are an event in and of themselves" -- what the fuck, Jonah??

That said, what I've always admired about CPB is that they took a mediocre shop in a mediocre market and very quickly turned it into one of the hottest agencies in the world. And that Bogusky (to my knowledge, anyway) never worked at any of the "hot" shops-- he built his career in tandem with the agency.

Where Bloom really loses me though is his take on how the trades cover Crispin:

One of the popular myths is that the shop is somehow a PR miracle worker, able to get publications like this one to write about everything it does, but it's been years since anyone there pitched a story. That's not how they operate. And they don't have to, because the work does the job. We know it'll make good story fodder, drawing big traffic numbers and lots of passionate comments from readers.
Actually Jonah, they don't need to do publicity anymore because they know the trades pretty much run a story every time Bogusky sneezes. I mean maybe it does sell magazines, but mostly it seems like they (the trades) can't be bothered. I mean yeah the guy is photogenic, but you tend to cover him the way Us and People cover Tom Cruise. To the point where I don't think any of us would be surprised if you ran a picture of him shirtless on the cover.

(To see just how photogenic Bogusky is, click here.)

Kirshenbaum Bond had the same magic going for them about 10 years ago when you couldn't pick up an issue of Adweek (in particular) without reading about some funny thing that happened to Richard on his way to the dry cleaners or some such drivel. And when that action dried up, the trades jumped all over Crispin.

I'm sure there are plenty of other interesting agencies out there, Jonah. You and the rest of the ad journos have just got to get off your butts and find them.


Anonymous said...

Hey Toad...
Great post... I tried to log on to AdAge to ream Jonah a new arse... Got rejected!!! Mmmm. Maybe I'm now on their black list. I shal hammer him again in the morning... I'll show them they can't fuck with me. I'll also link to your site tomorrow. Too fucking tired now! Finally, I would love to know if this Jonah wanker has ever worked in an agency. Wonder if we can get his bio?

Anonymous said...

Just Googled him... He's a fucking journalist... Never worked in advertising. Why am I not surprised?

Anonymous said...

Chiat: how big can we get before we suck?

CPB: about this big.

Alan Wolk said...

So where's my link Parker ;)

You know the holding companies are indirectly to blame for the state of ad journalism these days too. Since most players are working for an agency that's beholden to some giant holding company, they're pretty loathe to say anything the least bit controversial and the BDAs themselves pretty much do anything they can to keep the names of actual people out of the press. When your name is on the door however, you can be a lot more open with the press.

Marino: I don't think CPB is anywhere near "sucking" these days. Yeah, they've done some stuff that makes me cringe (the Haggar print, with its rich-college-boy-trying-to-imitate-blue-collar-worker constructions, for instance)most of what they do is still head and shoulders above the rest of the industry. And just like baseball, nobody bats 1.000.
Seriously, wouldn't you rather see them try and fail than not try at all?

HighJive said...

chuck porter bears an uncanny resemblance to a typical child molester.

Alan Wolk said...

Whereas Bogusky bears an uncanny resemblance to someone else.

Check it out

HighJive said...

sorry, my comment was referring to the bogusky separated at birth post...

Olivier Blanchard said...

Right. No question. But when an agency turns the spotlight on itself rather than the client, I start to get a little nervous.

A) You can only stay "hot" for so long, and B) you can only steal the spotlight for so long before your clients walk.

PS: Their Orville ad isn't very good at all.