Seven things Alex Bogusky should blog about

Alex.AdWeek_3_Yesterday my Twitter friend John Winsor sent me a couple of recent blog posts by Alex Bogusky.  John and I are talking crowdsourcing at a Boston Ad Club event next week and he thought Alex’s post on the subject – using the ubiquitous logo competition as an example — would be interesting.

To be honest, I don’t think any of us are going to learn anything from another post about logo competitions.  We’ve all read the pros and cons of crowdSPRING and perhaps followed BBH Labs’ experiment.

But we could learn an awful lot if Alex did choose to write a few more posts.  I mean the guy probably has more to share with the advertising and creative industry than anyone since Bill Bernbach.  I don’t know Alex personally — we’ve said hello a few time at award shows  — but like you, I do know what he’s accomplished.  So here’s what I think Alex should be blogging about.

Why agencies need to be more courageous

This is one agency that has always been willing to take risks with its work.  Playing it safe does not seem to be in its DNA.  The entire industry could use some encouragement.

The importance of challenging the status quo

A long time ago, Mullen did this.  Crispin’s taken it a step further.  They’ve been a challenger brand themselves and it seems to be a mindset that continues.  What can young start-up agencies and individuals learn from this?

Remembering to promote yourself not just your clients

No one’s better at this than Alex.  Yes, you need the goods, but he and his agency never miss a beat.  There are lessons here for companies and individuals.

Reasons not to listen to the critics

For years, every time Crispin did something that got attention, the rest of the industry immediately labeled it a gimmick.  “They can’t do it for big brands.”  “They can’t to TV.”  There are lots of lessons on how to listen; why not one on when not to?

How to deliver consistently fresh work

They do it over and over. From Subservient Chicken, to Mini, to the King, to unfriend your Facebook pals. No doubt other agencies and start-ups could benefit from stories about the agency’s environment, standards, hiring practices, and commitment to developing young talent.

The role of environment in stimulating creativity

Can other companies learn from the Boulder, Colorado space?  Is the thinking transferable? Based on some of the miserable work environments I’ve seen in office parks across America, too many businesses forget about the importance of physical surroundings.

Creating a culture that perpetuates itself

I know a lot of people who’ve done great work at CPB and couldn’t replicate it elsewhere and visa versa.  Why not advise other young companies on the importance of culture?

So, what do you think?  Should Alex write another post about social media or crowdsourcing?  Or share what he really knows?  Alex Blogusky anyone?

13 comments
Bruce DeBoer
Bruce DeBoer

I'd love to sit in on a few creative pitches at CPB - what do you say Alex, am I invited? I'll sit in the back silently. I'm thinking the passion of the presentation must be enough to levitate clients off their chairs. I say that because I have been in pitches where our agency couldn't sell the slightest risk: "need to play it safe on this one".

The last few years some may say that CPB are successful enough that they get clients willing to take chances and I'm sure that's true. However, Alex and his creative team have been solid risk takers for over a decade and a half at least.

I'm thrilled to see them maintain speed. Great stuff.
.-= Bruce DeBoer´s last blog ..My hair’s on fire – need a light? =-.

Steffan Postaer
Steffan Postaer

I've said this for a few years now: Crispin Porter & Bogusky is the Doyle Dane Bernbach of our time. If Alex wants to write diet books and blog about media so be it. His agency's many campaigns provide countless lessons while creating a legacy.

Scott Truesdale
Scott Truesdale

Edward makes a great point - creativity is a lot like cooking, in that most of the time we only see the finished dish. There's very little discussion of the influences, the locations, the ingredients, and even the mistakes that serve to create great advertising.

Seriously, I don't need to see another blog about why social media works any more than I need to see one telling me why wine tastes good. What I want to know is the process that brought them to the solution.

David Breznau
David Breznau

I have nothing but respect for Bogusky, but that is one heck of a leap to jump from Bill Bernbach. And you're right, a time ago, Mullen was a leader. Just as Chiat/Day and Goodby/Silverstein, Wieden/Kennedy... all strategic/creative driven shops. Once again, the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented. For Bogusky to take the time and post...priceless. Thanks.
.-= David Breznau´s last blog ..The Power Of ALL =-.

David Saxe
David Saxe

Alex and Edward,

No matter what you guys choose to write about, thanks for the willingness to share. It still blows me away that the thoughts of the brightest minds in the business are readily available (for free) to anyone who's smart enough to soak it up.

And for the record, I'm one of the guys willing to pay. :) The value your experiences bring to my decision-making and industry philosophies is immeasurable. Thanks.

edward boches
edward boches

Alex:
True. None of us are experts at anything. But you could express your views on any subject. And no doubt people would read it. So if and when you're ready, I'm sure there are lots of folks out here who want to hear your ideas. Some even said they'd pay for it. Thanks for showing up.

Alex Bogusky
Alex Bogusky

Edward,

Although I'm not an expert on any of the subjects you suggest, I do like the suggestions. They would be fun to write about someday but the blog I was recently helping with is a Media Magazine blog so I need to keep the subject to media.

-Alex

Tom Cunniff
Tom Cunniff

Agree with all these, and they would make interesting reading.

Perhaps Alex Bogusky is an evil genius: is he deliberately blogging about the stuff that distracts agencies from their core mission and NOT blogging about the stuff that would help? :-)

Just kidding. I like the suggestions.
.-= Tom Cunniff´s last blog ..Mickey Mouse Measurement And The Goofy Illusion Of Perfection =-.

edward boches
edward boches

Bruce:
Maybe in the age of social media and transparency you can convince Alex to film a pitch and post it on YouTube. Let me know how you make out. :-)

edward boches
edward boches

Steffan:
You are right. It is the DDB of our time. And based on a few exchanges with Alex, it's due to nothing more than doing what you love and believe in and not letting other shit get in the way. Easier said than done as we all know. But perhaps a reminder to everyone not to get caught up in all the peripheral nonsense that often pollutes our business.

edward boches
edward boches

Scott:
Agree. Though in a back and forth exchange with Alex, he confesses he has no real secrets, just that A. you need to figure out what you enjoy, and B. you need to work every day to do more of that and less of everything and anything else. A simpler how-to will be hard to find.

edward boches
edward boches

David:
True, no one will ever be in Bernbach's class of one, not Lee, not Jeff, not Dan, not Alex. But, Alex and his agency have done more new, different, buzzworthy things than anyone recently. In the late '60s and early '70s, every agency on Madison Avenue was watching DDB and talking about them. Now those conversations, admitted or not, are about CPB. I think a lot of us constantly learn from each other; an entire generation of creatives copied or allowed themselves to be inspired by Bernbach. Some of us learned how to write good copy by reading old VW and Avis ads, still the best teachers out there. But if were young today, starting an agency, or thinking about it, I would want new lessons from a new thinker.

edward boches
edward boches

David:
Thanks for the kind words. Glad to be of help. I'll send you a a bill. :-) Actually, whatever we have to offer is probably not as much as we get back in terms of conversation, learning from the community, and the clarity that comes from expressing thoughts and opinions for others to react to. When you and others comment, debate and share your opinions, it's as valuable to us as our ideas may be to you.