Photo: Wired / Screengrab
When Business Insider Advertising received two press releases today—one about Deutsch NY poaching Crispin Porter + Bogusky creative Qian Qian and the other about CP+B alum Ryan Kutscher joining JWT as a co-chief creative officer under Jeff Benjamin, who was also poached from CP+B in January—we decided to take a look at who has left CP+B in the last year.The list is long.
It’s true that movement is common within the advertising world—people hopscotch from agency to agency with great regularity. We care about these departures because, as Ad Age put it when two of CP+B’s senior talent were poached in February, “The changes to CP&B’s senior ranks are a sign that the agency, which for so long was the hottest shop in adland, is feeling the same pressures all others face.”
Before founding partner Alex Bogusky left CP+B in 2010, the agency was an undeniable powerhouse. Its creative for Volkswagen and Burger King (remember Subservient Chicken?) led to CP+B being named Ad Age’s “agency of the decade” in 2009. Loyalty at CP+B was high, too—40 staffers left Miami to relocate with Bogusky to Boulder, Colo., in 2006.
While CP+B still acquires great talent and creates interesting work—it recently got the Arby’s account without an agency review—things have changed. People have left. After the agency and Burger King parted ways, a source told Agency Spy that an estimated 10 creatives left CP+B HQ in Boulder in April alone and 10 more were on their way out. One said, “The joke around the office is, thanks to all these guys quitting, there won’t be a need for the inevitable BK layoffs.” (People were still laid off. CP+B also let go 43 of its 900 employees in January, and 11 staffers in Toronto in April).
Here’s a look at the talent that has recently left CP+B:
- MAY 2012: After only a year, CP+B creative director Tom Hauser left the agency to move back to his home country, Germany. “It was great meeting you guys. Rock on and Auf Wiedersehen.”
- MARCH: After 15 years at CP+B, ECD Tim Roper and the agency “mutually decided it was the right time” to part ways. Roper will pursue directing (he wrote the Hulu/Will Arnett work for the agency, including the Super Bowl spot).
- MARCH: CP+B executives Dave Schiff, Scott Prindle and John Kieselhort left the agency in March to start Made, an agency that is entirely dedicated to assisting the resurgence of American Manufacturing. “CP+B is a great agency, and I could never see myself leaving to go to another agency,” Schiff said in a statement. “But this is a mission. We work a lot in advertising, and I want to put every hour into building something I’m deeply committed to.”
- FEBRUARY: CP+B lost Miami executive creative directorAri Merkin after two years of work. Merkin was responsible for a Super Bowl spot for MetLife. Apparently he is still connected to CP&B with some consulting work.
- FEBRUARY: David Rolfe, director of integrated production, also left CP+B in February for BBDO New York. “There’s an exciting aura of newness here” he told Ad Age. He and Merkin aren’t being replaced.”
- JANUARY: Jeff Benjamin, a partner at CP+B, was poached by JWT to work with former Goodby colleague Mike Geiger. He had been at CP+B since 2003 and was responsible for BK’s Whopper Sacrifice (in which people traded FB friends for burgers). “There’s not a lot wrong with my job at CPB, so the thought of leaving never really crossed my mind,” Benjamin told Ad Age. “But that feeling of being scared and trying something new is something that advertising teaches you. It was time to try a new challenge, and maybe do it on a different scale as well.”
- JANUARY: Ken Slater left his post as ACD on Jell-O, and other accounts, at CP+B. He was at the agency for six years. He is now at Ogilvy in Los Angeles.
- OCTOBER 2011: Andrew Keller circulated a memo that announced (“with a heavy and proud heart”) that Bill Wright and James Dawson Hollis would be leaving their posts to be ECDs at Ogilvy West. They both worked on Kraft’s “Pudding Face” and Jell-O’s “Jiggle It” app.
- SEPTEMBER: Shannon McGlothin, a creative director of CP+B’s Coke Zero account, left the agency after 20 months to join Deutsch LA as an EVP/GCD.
- SEPTEMBER: CP+B interactive EDC Matt O’Rourke left the agency for W+K. “I’ve wanted to work with Iain for a long time, and it’s nice to finally be getting to do it,” he told Agency Spy.
- AUGUST: Chris Kahle got his copywriter job at CP+B in 2009 after berating Alex Bogusky and Jeff Benjamin on Twitter to hire him. “He figured out a way to get our attention and prove that he was interested in CPB. Most people today send a link and call it good. We have to assume they sent it to a zillion other agencies too so we don’t really pay any attention. Chris broke through,” Bogusky said. Kahle left CP+B for BBDO NY.
- JULY: Omid Farhang, VP/group creative director at CP+B, left the agency after half a decade to become a creative executive at Creative Artists Agency. It at least seemed amicable on Facebook. Farhang posted, “Thank you CP+B for five rip-roaring, life-changing years. Count me deeply grateful and damn lucky.”
- JULY: Matt Ian left his post as creative director for Microsoft Windows to become an EVP/GCD at Deutsch LA.
- JULY: Mitch Bennett and Jay Russell came into CP&B together from GSD&M in 2010, but both left the Boulder shop in July of 2011. Bennett went to be a creative director at Fitzgerald+Co and Russell returned to GSD&M.
- JUNE: Married creative couple Wendy and Cliff Leicht left their posts as associate creative directors at CP+B to become VP creative directors at Mullen in Boston.
- APRIL: Six-year veteran and partner Winston Binch left CP+B for Deutsch LA. Andrew Keller described him (and newly departed Jeff Benjamin) as one of the “original architects of our digital process as we know it.”
When asked for a comment, CEO Andrew Keller told Business Insider: “As is the case with our industry, and especially our agency, many companies look to CP+B when they want to recruit the best talent. We embrace this reality and believe this is a terrific thing for our industry and also for our agency. As you point out, this year we have had a number of changes as some of our friends found new opportunities and some no longer fit with our direction.”
(Keller’s in-house memos are also known to be complimentary and thankful towards departing staff).
CP+B also noted some recent hires (including Cameron Harris, David Henry, and creative duo Joe Bruce and Kate Baker) and its tendency to promote from within, “which is always our preference.” Sixteen senior staff were recently promoted to EVPs.
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