How a Raunchy Ad Agency Lost Its Mojo

Crispin Porter & Bogusky focused too much on the bros: Seth Stevenson
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2012 12:31 PM CST

(Newser) – Just a few years ago, Crispin Porter & Bogusky was "the sexiest ad agency in the country," writes Seth Stevenson in Slate. But Stevenson hated Crispin and its fratty, dude-centric ad campaigns all along, and has watched its recent downfall with glee. The agency has been dumped by both Volkswagen and Burger King (and Burger King also dropped the creepy King mascot devised by Crispin). So what happened? Crispin focused too much on the bros, "actively ignoring, and even offending, every other demographic category in America."

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Which meant, despite the attention-getting ads, Burger King's sales shrank and it's about to lose its long-held No. 2 spot in the fast food industry to Wendy's. "The agency initially excelled mainly by whipping up attention through shock value and pop-cultural attunement," but couldn't maintain this initial thrill, Stevenson writes. Crispin "didn’t have the tools to do anything other than raise yet more buzz—which requires ever more outrageous stunts, and generally results in diminishing returns." The good news? Even Stevenson is enjoying Crispin's latest work for Kraft Mac and Cheese—watch some of those ads here. (Read more advertising agency stories.)

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