Crispin, The Book: Coming Soon To Every Mediocre Agency CEO’s Desk

Back when Cole & Weber was on a hot streak, I interviewed at an agency whose CEO said, “We want to be the next Cole & Weber.” Of course, he had no idea what that meant or what it would take to make that a reality.
So you can bet that when Warren Berger’s book Hoopla: A Book about Crispin, Porter & Bogusky hits the streets in September, folks running mediocre agencies across the land will rush to get a copy and tell their staff, “This is what we need to be doing!”
All I’m saying is, get ready.
Actually, that’s not all I’m saying. Every agency has their own unique culture. Some cultures are permeated by fear, some cultures encourage original thinking, sometimes a culture is essentially a permanent state of bending over for the client’s every whim. Crispin’s is unique, it took them years to get to where they are now, and you can’t copy it by reading a book, try as you might.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Donna Carroll says:

    I was the studio manager at CPB. The hoopla book was the beginning of the end of me. The culture is no longer what it was, with 450 employees and the volume of work is insane. They put me up at the Mayfair next door for a month when I has working on the book, I never went home. They did that because they caught me sleeping in the closet! There is way to much work people have to stay overnight sometimes for days at a time. They call it voluntary, but if you don’t do it your not going anywhere. There is a long line of folks waiting in the wings if your not willing to do it. They will do anything just for a chance to work for CPB. No mater how much food they feed you or how many starbucks coffees they can give you is worth giving up your life. and as soon as you start to burn out they are done with you and don’t think twice about replacing you. I got fired while on vacation via email, it could be a first. If only I had been been able to turn off that damn black berry I would still have a job. The place is so big Alex has no idea what is going on who you are or what your doing unless you send out an sarcastic all agency email that will get your name out there, but it can get you in a world of shit if he doesn’t find it funny, trust me I know. So what I am saying is that book wont be so fucking funny for me or a lot of my friends. My blood runs pink and when we open that book all they will see is me bleed out! What ever the culture was, it is no more. When to start at CPB they will give you what ever you want but it will cost you your soul.

  2. Carl LaFong says:

    Wow. They put you up at the Mayfair? I’m impressed.

  3. Donna Carroll says:

    Yes it was very nice, a Jacuzzi in every room!!!!!

  4. Donna,
    I appreciate you coming by here to tell your story. Of course, we’ve all heard what a sweat shop the place can be. I just don’t get why it’s so desirable, when you know going in, you’re gonna give up all your free time and burn out in a matter of months, or years if you’re incredibly durable. Yes, you might find limited fame and some degree of money, and those things are like a drug, but no matter what level you’re working at in this business, it’s still advertising. It’s not now, nor will it ever be a cure for cancer, an answer to hunger, global warming or any of these more noble pursuits. Balance, as always, is the way. I wonder if Bogusky’s move to Boulder was his own way of expressing his need for balance. I don’t know the man, but I do know Boulder, and I’m willing to bet that it is.

  5. Donna Carroll says:

    You nailed it! It is an addiction, In fact I joked around with Alex about needing a twelve step program if he ever saw fit to get rid of me. Of corse when it went down he backed out on a program for me. I was completely unbalanced a hard core junky, two years. Cold turkey was no way to go though the withdraw, CPB is everywhere I turn. I’m six weeks out and still crying.
    I agree that Boulder is about Alex’s hunger for a small agency, like it was. Extreme sports is also a draw, he is into dirt bikes, snow boards and family, of which he has a beautiful one. He is also very sensitive about not knowing the people that work for him, there was a time that he interviewed all new hirers, those day are long gone.

  6. Carl LaFong says:

    It’s like that old saw: Nobody ever died wishing they’d spent more time at the office. One of the reasons I’m not more successful than I am — aside from a staggering lack of talent — is that I’ve never been able to buy into the lemming-like mentality that compels people to work ungodly hours just because it’s expected of them.
    Like David says, at the end of the day, it’s just advertising. So many people in this business are so blinded by their pursuit of shiny awards or a fancy title that they lose sight of that.
    As heady as it must have been to work at Crispin, Donna, I have a feeling you’re better off now.
    And yeah, I remember those in-room Jacuzzis. Very cool.
    Best of luck to you.

  7. Donna Carroll says:

    Thanks Carl,
    I do feel a lot better now. I can finally see that it is more important to go home than it is to go to work. Nine times out of ten the deadlines they give you are not real anyway and no one is going to die if you say no I need to go home now. I think in the early days it was survival that gave me that drive, then it became an obsession. I know now that a VW or a whooper can not save the world! I’m in advertising, I am not a brain sergen. I think even they go home on time.

  8. John Tilamook says:

    I buy that you’re not a brain surgeon.

  9. Donna Carroll says:

    No way! But I was known as the ass saver!
    I have made it past the withdraw and I am not so bitter now. I came to realize the workaholic thing is inbred it comes from with in, CPB didn’t make me what I am, but they didn’t mind letting me kill myself. I really think they miss me. I wish I could take back the nasty way I came off. The facts are true but the way I said them sucks. There was not a week that went by that I didn’t send Alex an email saying I love my job. It was very exciting to work at CPB.
    So sorry I’m an ass,
    Love Donna

  10. Donna Carroll says:

    Oh I found many jobs to choose from once I was able to come out of my room. I’m working on Miami Beach with a smaller agency, I think I will be very happy if I can learn to balance work and life!