Jay Chiat used to ask “How big can we get before we get bad?” Today, The New York Times asks that question about CB&P.
Some skeptics see Crispin and like-minded agencies as a temporary blip. “The big agencies are saying that being big doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, and they’re going to prove it,” said Leslie Winthrop, chief executive at AAR Partners in New York.
So how nervous are Madison Avenue agencies about the Crispin model?
“Not nervous enough,” said Richard Roth, the president of the agency search firm Roth Associates.
Crispin executives remain confident, and maintain that their competitors have plenty to fear. “It’s hard for firms to transform themselves,” Chuck Porter, Crispin’s chairman, said of the big agencies. “But they’ll either adapt or die.”