CP+B: How To Build Successful Global Agencies

Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) regularly churns out creative and award-winning work like Captain Obvious for Hotels.com and "It's Changed But It Hasn't" for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

During an Advertising Week panel, CP+B chairman Chuck Porter and global CEO Lori Senecal chatted with AdWeek's Jim Cooper about how their agency is thriving despite an ever-evolving industry.

While diversity and gender are key hot topics, Porter cautions that ageism is the next big thing. "All Baby Boomers are getting old and an awful lot of people developing messaging for that audience is 25-years-old," he says. They resort to stereotypes. "I guess they play golf and like to walk on the beach." This issue will reverberate both within and outside of the industry. People working in this industry are being marginalized because their age, while messaging is not effectively reflecting these older consumers.

Diversity - whether it is race, gender, or age - helps to produce better work. "We try to hire people who will marry their ego for the sake of the idea," says Porter. "What we believe is brilliant thinking is 30-40 people around the world rather than three or four people sitting around New York. Hierarchies and creative haven't produced that good of work."

"Diversity is not a number. We are very conscious to get real opportunity and engagement, says Senecal. "One ways to unlock that is the best idea is boss. Not highest title."

CP+B puts all of its work on wall. "That allows everyone to participate. No names attached." This is true meritocracy because everyone is standing in front and reacting to what is best. Thus, work rises to the top. CP+B recently promoted four female associate creative directors to CDs. The press made it a story that four women were promoted. "For us, there are four people putting great ideas on wall. That was the reason that was able to happen."

The MDC Partners-owned shop makes every office autonomous and responsible for their own work. This creates more differences across offices. "São Paulo doesn't look like Miami or Los Angeles," he says.

Ultimately, Porter firmly believes agencies of the future will still rely on creatives. Big data is not very good at making work, he says. "What makes great work is the unexpected. Big data is a great way to target you, if you want to buy a lamp, I can send you an email every 10 minutes telling you about this great lamp."

He mentions recent McCann research that finds most people feel advertising messages annoy them. And 66% want marketing messages that inspire them. "It's hard for big data to inspire. Artists inspire."
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