The story behind the decline of advertising agency Crispin Porter Bogusky

Alex Bogusky
CPB co-founder Alex Bogusky.
  • Crispin Porter Bogusky was the hottest agency of the aughts, and regularly pushed zeitgeist-hitting work for big-name clients like Burger King, Microsoft, and Volkswagen.
  • At its peak, it boasting more than 1,100 employees across 10 offices, and revenues of more than $175 million.
  • But it's faltered after its founder and early partners left, struggled under a parent company that tried to grow it too fast, and faced a revolving door of management over the years, according to 30 current and former employees.
  • Most important, it failed to adapt to a changing industry, and keep up with advertising's shift to a data-based approach. 
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Crispin Porter Bogusky rose from a sleepy, regional agency based in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood in the '90s to become the hottest ad agency of the aughts under creative mastermind Alex Bogusky, pulling off edgy, provocative digital and interactive campaigns for brands like Burger King, Microsoft, and Volkswagen. 

But the agency has steadily declined since 2010, struggling from the loss of its founder and early partners, faltering under a parent company that tried to grow it too fast, and most of all, failing to keep up with advertising's shift to a data-based approach.

Business Insider spoke to 30 current and former executives at Crispin Porter Bogusky, executives at parent MDC Partners, and former clients for an in-depth look at what happened to the one-hot shop. Some key takeaways:

  • CPB suffered from the departures of founder Alex Bogusky and other key executives.
  • MDC pushed it to chase big, global corporate accounts like American Airlines and Infiniti and expanded its global footprint, taking CPB away from its roots.
  • At the same time, CPB struggled to adapt to the rise of tech platforms like Google and Facebook that ushered in data-driven performance marketing.

Subscribe to read the rest of the story here: The rise and fall of Crispin Porter Bogusky: How the hottest ad agency lost its mojo

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