Rocky Mountain Bye: Crispin's Bogusky Trades South Beach For North Peak

  • by January 12, 2006
Crispin Porter + Bogusky, one of the hottest ad agencies in the nation, is spreading its wings beyond its longtime home base of Miami, Florida, in an unusual move that includes the relocation of one of its top executives.

This summer, the agency's chief creative officer, Alex Bogusky, will move to Boulder, Colorado, along with 50 Miami employees from the agency's creative department, to open a satellite office there.

The move is important because of CP+B's current standing and significant influence in the advertising industry.

The agency was a pioneer in the use of media-neutral advertising tactics for major national clients such as the Mini Cooper, and it enjoys a solid reputation as a prominent, growing agency popular with clients and peers alike. The move is also in keeping with the agency's reputation as a maverick shop that does things its own way, often going against the grain of traditional industry protocol.

Often, when a national agency opens a branch office in a non-major market location, it is because a specific client requires its presence in a particular geographic area. In those cases, usually only a handful of staff members make the move, and additional staff is hired as needed.



However, in an e-mail interview, Bogusky emphasized that the Boulder operation will not handle separate accounts, but will instead serve as an extension of the Miami office, which currently employs 350 employees and has billings of $750 million.

"We're getting more space (in Colorado) because we're growing," Bogusky said. "And, so we can offer something new for quality of life, we're going to take the space in Boulder." After the move this summer, he said, the agency would determine whether additional staffers want to follow.

One of the main reasons for the move is that the agency is having trouble attracting talent to the Miami area. Katie Kempner, CP+B's VP-Director of Agency Communications, said that a combination of concerns over hurricane season and the high cost of living has caused some recruits to think twice before committing to raising a family in southern Florida.

"As we get bigger and need to recruit more people, a lot of them don't want to move to Miami for different reasons," Kempner said. "People either love or hate Miami. Boulder offers a completely different type of lifestyle, and that is what a lot of this is about."

Bogusky also said a large number of the agency's staffers travel regularly, and have learned how to operate outside the Miami headquarters. "We've learned that location is fairly meaningless for the way we work," he said. "Right now, 40 percent of the office is traveling at any given time on average. We're already fairly virtual, so it will be a very exciting experiment."

Not only is Bogusly moving his official residence to Boulder, but agency chairman Chuck Porter--whose son is a student there at the University of Colorado--will also take an apartment in the city. However, Kempner stressed that both Bogusky and Porter will keep separate residences in Miami, and that agency CEO Jeff Hicks will remain in Miami, as will the agency's main administrative functions and all other parts of the national operation.

In the same vein, Bogusky emphasized that the Boulder operation is "part of a single organization called CP+B. For us, Boulder is perfect because it is so different from Miami. The only thing they have in common is that neither one has historically been a hotbed of advertising activity."

On that score, Bogusky said he hoped the agency's relocation would have a positive influence on Boulder's status in the industry.

"I would hope to have a good creative influence on the area," he said. "There are some good small shops there already. And I plan to get involved with the university (The University of Colorado at Boulder), and perhaps offer a location for the Miami ad school to open something up there as well."

CP+B is affiliated with MDC Partners, a Canadian marketing and communications holding company that owns a minority stake in the agency, as well as stakes in other U.S.-based agencies and marketing firms. Its client list includes the American Legacy Foundation, the Florida State anti-tobacco campaign, Volkswagen, The Gap, Virgin Atlantic, and Burger King Corp.

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