Agency Profile; Crispin Porter + Bogusky

It’s been called the hottest agency in the country. That’s pretty high praise for a Miami-based shop with barely 110 full-time staffers. But the creative work of Crispin Porter + Bogusky is much richer than its employee head count.

"One reason that people come to us is our ability to break through the clutter with smaller budgets," says Jim Poh, director of creative content distribution. "Everything we do starts with creative ideas, and then we find the right formats and distribution channels to get those ideas out there."

After winning the account for the new BMW Mini Cooper car launch, CPB’s creative minds had to figure out a way to make a statement without the benefit of a national TV campaign, using a budget barely 10 percent of what Volkswagen spent to launch the new version of the Beetle. The result: a first-ever advertising centerfold in the June’s Playboy.

"One of our main tenets for the Mini campaign is that if it seems like something another car advertiser would do, we don’t want to do it. The car is unique, and should be doing things no other advertiser is doing," says Poh, who also drives a new chili red Mini.

To get noticed in the Big Apple, CPB created a mammoth billboard just north of Times Square. The idea was to point out that the Mini was equipped with so many standard features that they could not all be listed on one billboard. "We came across this standard-size board and two smaller spaces on either side, so we bought them all," Poh says of the $500,000 effort that will run through the end of the year. The resulting ad spans more than 125 feet, six times the width of a typical board.

In addition to the BMW/Mini, CPB has acquired two other major accounts in the past year: the $10 million Molson USA business and a $40 million pledge from furniture retailer Ikea. The agency is also the creative force behind teen anti-smoking campaigns in Florida and nationwide.

"We are not trying to be a local Miami agency," Poh says. CPB opened a Los Angeles office last fall to troll for West Coast accounts. Within a few weeks the agency had landed a $1 million campaign for Fine Living, a new cable network owned by E.W. Scripps Co.

"I think it was their completely unorthodox thinking about how to make our brand stand out," says Robyn Miller, senior vice president, marketing at Scripps. "They clearly understand the power of viral marketing and using untraditional media in new and exciting ways."

In one final snub to nonbelievers, the company offers two options on its website’s homepage ( Visitors who choose to enter the site are treated to examples of the firm’s creative work. Those who click the Exit button — titled "I strongly disagree and I don’t believe that this kind of creative can make one dollar work like two" — are linked to a site listing bankruptcy attorneys.

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