Creating Cultural Change Through Marketing

John Winsor weighs in on his first 90 days at Crispin Porter & Bogusky. His Boulder-based firm, Radar Communications, was acquired by Crispin last spring.

CP+B is an incredibly entrepreneurial place. While it creates some manic energy it also has intensity around the creative process that is so necessary for anything great to happen. This place is truly focused on creating cultural change through marketing.

I’m inclined to take Winsor at his word. And I like how his word has not a thing to do with selling more crap to more people.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Exactly. But a cultural change would be treating the consumers with less contempt than we do. We cannot affect the greater culture unless we change our own culture. We have to stop insulting the consumer. That is why they hate advertising. CP + B are the worst offenders. Nice that they think of themselves as agents of cultural change. I think I am leaving the country.

  2. Carl LaFong says:

    You may like “how his word has not a thing to do with selling more crap to more people,” David, but I wonder how many clients would share that sentiment.
    Do you think Burger King or Volkswagen hired Crispin to create “cultural change through marketing” — or to move more hamburgers and cars?
    There’s no question Crispin has done some terrific stuff. But to try to elevate hawking hamburgers into something nobler is utter horseshit — the kind of pretentious twaddle people in advertising spout to make themselves feel better about what they do.
    When all is said and done, they’re doing the same thing the rest of us are doing — they just do it better (well, at least most of the time).

  3. Carl,
    I totally agree that few clients will ever give a damn about lofty goals like Crispin espouses. But that’s no reason not to have such goals. As long as they can sell shit and raise the cultural bar, they’re good to go.

  4. Carl LaFong says:

    I hear what you’re saying, David. (Glad to have you back, by the way.) And I would agree that we should all aspire to do more than just grind out brain-dead advertising that insults the consumers’ intelligence.
    But how exactly is Crispin — or any other agency, for that matter — raising “the cultural bar?”
    Aside from the very notable exception of the “Truth” campaign, how are they enriching our lives and ennobling our society? How has, say, the Subservient Chicken or Orville Deadenbocker made the world a better place?
    I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics. Maybe I just have a different definition of “cultural change.” I dunno.

  5. Thanks Carl.
    I don’t believe the examples you cite do raise any cultural bars. Maybe someone from CP&B can point to better examples.
    I will add that Goodby and Wieden share these same core values. I think it might be as simple as recognizing how powerful media images are and accepting the responsibility that comes with making and distributing them.
    That is, we who work in advertising owe it to all, not just to our clients, to create consistently better work. No agency will ever live up to this 100% of the time. The best of the best would do well to achieve this one third of the time.