On Monday, Slate published a column by Seth Stevenson about Crispin Porter + Bogusky that began, “I come to bury Crispin, not to praise it.”It then proceeded to celebrate his “bitter hatred” of the ad agency, which has handled Burger King in the past and currently works on the Kraft Macaroni and Cheese business.
The article was a little late — CP+B caught the bulk of its negative headlines last year. But then on Thursday the shop announced it would lay off 43 of its 900 staffers, keeping the agency in the news.
Deutsche Bank’s suggestion that more staffers at parent company MDC Partners’ other agencies could face the ax didn’t help.
I asked MDC CEO Miles Nadal if he had a comment, and got this response from CP+B’s VP/executive director Katie Kempner, who handles PR for the shop (and previously for Nadal).
She describes the article as “blatantly slanted,” “disturbing,” “incorrect,” “mean spirited” and filled with “inaccuracies.”
Here’s the verbatim text, I think it speaks for itself:
In terms of the Slate.com post, that article was blatantly slanted but more disturbing is that everything the writer talked about was either old news and/or incorrect yet positioned as new. We don’t know what the impetus for such a mean spirited piece was but we have been in touch with them regarding their inaccuracies.
For one thing, they refer to the loss of the BK account, which incidentally happened in March of 2011, but the facts are inaccurate and incomplete. There is no mention that this happened when BK was acquired by a private equity firm, who came in and reorganized the company, firing hundreds of people including the management team. Incidentally, we, as an agency, were not fired, we were asked to be a part of a pitch to the new management but we declined and agreed to part ways as the new owners had a very different vision in mind for their company. Btw, I am sure you have seen that since that time, BK has fallen from number two to number three behind both McDonald’s and Wendy’s in the category. I don’t see that in the post. We remain proud of the work that we did and the results we achieved during the seven years we worked with BK.
In terms of VW, we parted ways with them in 2009 so it seems strange to bring it up as if it is recent news. In terms of Alex Bogusky, he hasn’t headed up the creative department here in a number of years so why dig up an old quote of his? The post does mention our Kraft Macaroni and Cheese work (which the Wall Street Journal sited as one of the best campaigns of the year: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204058404577108861568521248.html) positively. That was actually pretty amazing because in addition to being a great campaign, it ended up giving Ted Williams a new lease on life. One year later, as Adweek recently wrote, he is no longer homeless and is thriving. (http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/year-later-man-golden-voice-has-golden-life-match-137518).
Monday’s post talks about our supposed slide but here are some fantastic things we are actually up to. Our work for Domino’s Pizza has been ground breaking and transformative to the business. The brand continues to succeed as fiscal third-quarter net income rose 33% (for 2011), primarily driven by domestic and international same store sales growth. Domestic same store sales for the third-quarter also rose 3% versus the year-ago period. Stock for DPZ has also increased from $14.41 to $32.51 over the last year. (SOURCE: http://phx.corporateir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=135383&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1618177&highlight.) Our other notable recent work includes new campaigns for Coke Zero, and ourcontinuing efforts for Best Buy (btw, Ad Age sited our last Super Bowl spot for them as one of the 20 most memorable in Super Bowl history) and new work for Under Armour. We continue to thrive with our work for Microsoft, which we launched in 32 countries. Additional strategic campaigns for Old Navy, Triscuits, Milka (throughout Europe) and Jell-o pudding have created extremely positive momentum for our clients and their brands.
We are especially proud of our work for Am Ex Open. We actually created Small Business Saturday for Am Ex Open to give small business owners their own shopping day between Black Friday and Cyber Monday spurring small business sales. Small Business Saturday is now an official holiday, one that President Obama not only observed this past holiday season, but did so at our client Best Buy, in our client Under Armour’s sweatshirt.
Although the post suggests that we have lost our creative mojo – Creativity magazine named us to their A-List – the very same day the Slate post came out (http://creativity-online.com/news/creativity-alist-2011-crispin-porter-bogusky/232194) It should also be noted that we were on Creativity and Ad Age’s A list last year. (Ad Age 2010: http://adage.com/article/special-report-agency-alist-2010/cp-b-8-ad-age-agency-a-list/148351/ Creativity 2010: http://creativity-online.com/news/creativitys-agency-of-the-year-2010/148393)
Time Magazine has been doing the “Top 10 of Everything” for some time, where they compile multiple top 10 lists from the year. For the last four years, “The Top 10 Ads” has been a category. And we’ve had a spot in the Top 10 each year since. Here are the year’s and spots: 2011 MSFT “Dog PPT”: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2101344_2101187_2101184,00.html 2010 Windows Phone “Really”: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2035319_2034607_2034580,00.html 2009 Hulu “Alec in Huluworld”: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1945379_1944054_1944068,00.html 2008 MSFT “I’m a PC”: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1855948_1863204_1863210,00.html
We’ve recently expanded our offices in London and LA and continue to thrive in many ways despite tough economic times in our industry. In addition to all of this, we have two spots in the Super Bowl and are aggressively pursuing some exciting new business. Incidentally, we continue to expand our product innovation and design offerings, finding new ways to partner on brands. Communications Arts came out with an article today that discusses some of our work: (Entrepreneurial Thinking: Redefining roles and changing modes in creative business”: http://www.commarts.com/Columns.aspxpub=6421&pageid=1713.)