What To Learn From Learn From Crispin Porter Bogusky

Advertising Agency Learning From Crispin Porter Bogusky

I use a bit of show and tell when I work with my advertising agency clients. Based on their business objectives, positioning, and service offering, I show a series of relevant benchmark agency websites and marketing tactics to help agencies learn from related B2B best practices. Here is what I think is valuable learning from the recently rebranded Crispin Porter Bogusky and its new website.

Crispin Porter Bogusky – Background

Crispin Porter Bogusky was once the golden creative baby of the advertising industry. It came to fame in the early 2000s with its Truth campaign for the Florida Department of Health. From AdAge, June 2002:

Crispin Porter + Bogusky had a good week in Cannes, winning two Media Lions for its launch campaign for the Mini and picking up two Film Lions for anti-smoking work for the Florida Department of Health. The agency’s brand new campaign for Florida “Truth” takes a rat’s eye view of the tobacco industry.

Over the years, the agency moved from Florida to Boulder and then expanded globally. They’ve been named “Agency of the Year” 13 times, was Advertising Age Agency of the Decade in 2009 and was Cannes Lion’s Interactive Agency of the Year – get this – three times. The agency is owned by MDC Partners.

Getting The CPB+ MOJO Back

The business of advertising has changed (understatement!). Smarter, market-aware agencies have rebranded, revised their services, repositioned to be more specialized and have moved from the generalized “we are creative” positioning to having a more client-focused / ROI business message. Crispin Porter Bogusky is a prime example of responding to market forces while maintaining its historical position as a creative leader.

In the past year, founder Alex Bogusky returned, the agency rebranded as Crispin Porter Bogusky+ (they have rebranded a few times in the past and I have to admit that their moves with their + sign have confused me – keep reading), downsized by closing their L.A. and Miami offices and revitalized the website.

Here’s What Your Advertising Agency Can Learn From The New Crispin Porter Bogusky New Website

The Home Page

The website is clean and neat. It gets to the point with a lead sales message that should resonate with savvy clients as it hits three key business-oriented points: the agency solves communications problems; it understands the need for business metrics and is ‘creative’ – creative works for Crispin Porter Bogusky because its creative message has been supported by its award history. Here’s the copy:


To solve the world’s toughest communications problems with the most quantifiable potent creative assets.

(AKA kick-ass advertising)

I look at lots of advertising agency websites – this copy is direct, concise, has some soul and delivers a benefit statement. Most ad agency home pages do not deliver a reason for the visitor to click on.

I also dig that the agency realizes that their website’s Home Page is a sales tool and drives a connection to their COO Ryan Skubic via the Chat With Ryan button. All to often, agencies make their visitors wade through the website till they get to their boring contact page. Really boring.

The website introduces a shifting + sign that has moved from between Porter and Bogusky to after Bogusky. Today the agency is Crispin Porter Bugusky+ and sometimes the shortcut as CPB+. Frankly, this is a bit subtle for me. But, I’ll assume that the moving plus sign is primarily a signal of change for its employees.

The agency also offers a bit of hipness by having its elephant(s) float across the page.

Navigation is simple and points to What We Do, Work and People sections.

What We Do

Crispin Porter Bogusky delivers the full-plate / full-service approach to the What We Do message. I think that the website kinda fails here as it serves up a ‘we do everything’ message. And, even my agency Citrus used the Swiss Army knife metaphor to help visualize the multi-tool offer – I am sure others use the Swiss as well. Here’s the copy:

We do a lot. We’re like a Swiss Army knife for marketing solutions – only each time you open a tool there is another Swiss Army knife with even cooler tools. Because every solution is unique, we build a vertically integrated lab where anything is possible. Our process is our map, and early, real-time real-world data is our compass. Maybe you want the whole knife. Maybe you want just design. We are confident that wherever we start, you’ll find more and more to love.

GUT+ is the agency’s new lean-agile creative process. It is data-driven and offers copy that allows the agency to be both creative and data-driven for today’s results-oriented market. The core copy:

Learn more about GUT+ and why we’ll never ask you to “trust us” on an idea.

I’m sure that Crispin Porter Bogusky once told clients to “trust us.” I lived in the “trust us” era. It is loooong gone as a rational message.

GUT+ is supported by a process chart that, I have to admit, makes me dizzy. Does the agency really need this graphic to sell-in the idea that they have moved on from 1990’s style TV production? Having an eight-step process feels looooong – not Fast as promised. Plus, for an agency that touts is results orientation (see the Home page copy), I do not see much time on the chart for analytical reviews. Lots of gut, but little data management.


There is a tacked on business development section called Crisp Jam. I have no clue what this section does for the overall sales process. Can you help me understand how this message is different from just saying, “Call Us”? The copy:

We’re open to dating. Crisp Jam is purpose-built to take on projects and clients that typically have a hard time finding a home.

Crisp Jam offers future clients a choice between TINDER, It’s Just Lunch or Dinner And A Movie. What is the difference between these dating options? Who is this message aimed at – smaller clients? If I were a prospective client, I’d be confused.


The Work section is the agency’s sweet spot and delivers on the core ‘we are creative and effective message’ It includes seventeen quick-read case studies (Challenge, Solution, and Result) for rather famous clients like Jose Cuervo, Dominos, Netflix, Amazon, and Kraft. Not a bad history.

The quick-read case study section is very important in an ADHD client world. Each case leads the viewer to an “Ask Ryan For Something Similar” button. Once again, the agency is driving the viewer to contact Ryan via email.


The People section goes for the ‘abbondanza’ approach by showing 247 employees. Senior players are indicated by a plus sign that takes you to an expanded bio.

There is always the question about how many people to show on an agency website. When is too much too much? Do you just show management? Do you show everyone? If you are small you’ll have to decide if small is a good look for you. If you are large, when is too many too many?

The first element of the People photo grid is a link (another plus sign) to a Current Job Openings page. All six openings are in the Boulder office.

The bottom of the page includes two prospective employee tests… “Help us get to know you: Creative Aptitude Test.” One test is for writers and one for visual designers. I have never seen this before and it is both a smart screening tool and agency-branding tool. I think that the tests make the agency look smart. It has a Google-like – we only hire the best – vibe.

Wait Wait. There’s More.

More: Crisp Campus is the agency’s commercial co-working space. As they say:

Crisp Campus is a shared co-working space situated inside Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

Apply now for the chance to work in a creative community at a fraction of the cost of traditional co-working spaces.

Is this a new revenue source? Another smart branding device? A way to find new talent? I’d imagine all three.

Want to buy stuff? CPB+ has a store. I’m going to buy the Human Lie Detector tee-shirt. It will be a good conversation starter. But, no thanks to the Covermosts.

Bottom Line…

This is a cool, I know an overused descriptor, website. It is clean, tries hard to sound edgy and sells the agency even if it is a bit wordy and all over. Kinda like, we do all of these cools things… we are sure that one of them will turn you on.











One Comment

  1. Robin Solis
    | Permalink

    Hi Peter. The plus sign for them means *and*. They use it between partner names then on the end of the firm’s name as a way to say “and associates”. That’s my take anyway.

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