Advertising People on the Move

Nancy Hill on Alex Bogusky’s return to CP+B: ‘He ignited something in them’


By Kyle O'Brien, Creative Works Editor

August 2, 2018 | 7 min read

CP+B announced that Alex Bogusky, one of the original founders of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, has rejoined the agency as co-founder, chief creative engineer. In this new position, Bogusky will assume a leadership role in all aspects of the company, including creative direction, innovation, strategy, and talent.

Alex Bogusky

Alex Bogusky returns to CP+B after eight years away

Bogusky will be working closely with chief executive Erik Sollenberg, president Danielle Aldrich and chairman Chuck Porter, to reimagine the modern agency of today.

Said Nancy Hill, chief executive of Media Sherpas, and the former CEO of the 4A’s, on Bogusky’s return after eight years away from the agency: “There are very few people in this industry who have both the talent themselves and the ability to bring out the talent in other people. Lee Clow, Susan Credle, Anselmo Ramos, to name just a few. Alex is clearly one of those people. That’s why his return is important. So many people who have gone on to do great things, did so because Alex ignited something in them. Good for Scott Kauffman and CPB in recognizing that.”

Bogusky stated in a release: “This is a decisive moment for the future of the advertising industry. The needs of brands have changed, and it’s high time to reexamine the best creative approach to meet those needs. My time away from advertising was largely spent advising and investing in tech startups and I learned about the processes that drive those successes. I think advertising agencies can benefit from the lean and agile practices that have revolutionized so many other industries. CP+B is in my blood, and MDC Partners continues to be the network where real innovation can thrive. The CP+B brand has always been all about redefining advertising, and the opportunity to remake what it means to be a top-tier creative agency is too compelling to pass up. The timing is right.”

Bogusky played a central role in the success of the agency since he joined in 1989. He became creative director five years later, a partner in 1997, and co-chairman in 2008. During his creative leadership, CP+B became the world’s most awarded agency – named ‘Agency of the Year’ 13 times in the trade press. Bogusky was behind some of the agency’s most notable work in his original tenure, including the anti-smoking Truth campaign (‘Singing Cowboy’), Burger King's Subservient Chicken and other Whopper campaigns, plus work for Domino’s, Mini and Volkswagen.

“CP+B’s true north star is dramatic and wildly effective work,” said Erik Sollenberg. “There has never been a more interesting time to be in the industry, and it’s a privilege to partner with Alex to drive the agency of the future for clients and for our people. After all, there is no one better than Alex to combine the energy, passion and bravery of a start-up, with the rigor of a scaled global organization.”

Since leaving CP+B in 2010, Bogusky has been an entrepreneur, designer and investor. Always drawn to social responsibility, Bogusky and his wife Ana worked closely with Al Gore, rebranding his Climate Reality Project and starting ‘24 Hours of Reality.’ The duo also launched Common, a community for accelerating social ventures, and ad agencies Made and Humanaut. As an advisor and angel investor, he has worked with dozens of startups, including Lyft and SpotX, and founded Batshit Crazy Ventures, an early stage venture capital fund.

CP+B has been through many changes since Bogusky's departure, including the additions of Sollenberg and global chief creative officer Linus Karlsson, as well as announcing that its Miami office will close in 2018. Karlsson will be leaving the agency after nine months in his position due to the new restructuring of the agency.

“Alex is the most original and innovative thinker I know,” said Chuck Porter. “The last time Alex was here, we reinvented what it meant to be an ad agency, and I don’t think there’s ever been a time when the industry needs that more than right now. The new world is about being smart, fast, nimble and prolific. I think that’s what marketers want, and where talented people want to live.”

Mike Caguin, chief creative officer at Colle McVoy, utilized a sports analogy regarding Bogusky's return: "This reminds me of when Michael Jordan came out of retirement in 1995 and eventually led the Bulls to their second three-peat. The Bulls were very good without him, but made it on top again with him back on the team. Chuck and Alex remind me of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. They make each other better."

Newly appointed executive director of the VCU Brandcenter, Vann Graves, remarked: "Alex is an icon in our industry and I’ve admired his work and our students have studied it. It will be great to see how the time he has spent with start-ups influence his approach in leadership at CP+B. I am sure these experiences will only add to his impact at CP+B but also the greater industry."

Winston Binch, chief digital officer, Deutsch North America: “It’s great to have Alex back in the game. He’s a uniquely gifted innovator, creative leader, and mentor, and his recent experience as a tech investor and adviser will be hugely additive for the company given all of the digital disruption taking place in the industry right now. Creativity is still the biggest difference maker for brands, but the business needs a fresh take. One that’s much smarter in terms of how we use and deploy emerging technology. Alex’s skills as a creative visionary and tech evangelist will undoubtedly lead CP+B to interesting new places. I look forward to seeing where they go together.”

Anselmo Ramos, co-founder and chief creative officer of Gut, added: "In 2001, I finally managed to get a meeting with Alex Bogusky in Miami. He liked my portfolio enough to ask me to show it to other folks at CP+B as well. So I spent the whole afternoon talking to people like Ari Merkin and Andrew Keller, but I didn't get hired. And I was devastated; I felt I wasn't good enough for CP+ B, and I knew they were right.

"At the same time, it was extremely motivational for me; it changed my mindset and made me work even harder. Then, 14 years later, I opened David Miami and our first client was Burger King. The pressure was on. Same city, same client. The bar was incredibly high after ideas like 'Subservient Chicken,' 'Whopper Virgins,' and my all-time favorite, 'Whopper Freakout.' So, as you can imagine, it was a hard to follow Bogusky's act.

"Every day I felt the pressure of his iconic work on my shoulders, which was part of the reason we were able to win two Grand Prix for Burger King in 2017 and help them become Cannes Marketer of The Year. That award was won by Burger King, but we all knew that historically there were two different agencies behind it: first, CP+B, and second, David. I guess being rejected by CP+B was the best thing ever. Thanks so much Alex, for not hiring me."

BBDO ​worldwide chief creative officer David Lubars stated after learning of Bogusky’s return to CP+B: “Hadn’t heard that, cool.”

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