Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The king is dead

It's been a bad week to be Crispin, Porter + Bogusky.

After seven years, Burger King has decided there are better options out there and notified the agency they would be taking their $300,000,000 budget elsewhere.

And in an interview with BusinessWeek, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason admitted he put too much faith in CP+B saying, "... to be edgy, informative and entertaining, we turned off the part of our brain where we should have made our own decisions."

This from an agency that just a few years ago could do no wrong.

Their work introducing Mini to the United States featured pitch perfect positioning and phenomenal use of alternative media.

They drove sales for Molson by creating interesting labels that served as conversation starters.

And they had a lot of fun introducing Hulu to the world on the Super Bowl a few years ago.

What changed?

Well, aside from the fact that Alex Bogusky is no longer with the agency, what really changed is they went from being an agency that sought be disruptive in relevant ways, to one that just seems to make noise.

Their work for Old Navy, their recent Best Buy spot featuring Justin Bieber and Ozzie Osborn, and of course the Groupon spots seem gimmicky, rather than well thought out campaigns designed to drive sales of their clients' products.

They're not a bad agency. Their work for Domino's is smart and effective. The Microsoft work actually tries to make their products seem useful. And the American Express Open campaign is hard working.

It just goes to show that being different without any relevance is as quick a way to failure as not standing out at all.

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