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.

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