Crispin Would Rather Burn Out Than Fade Away

Lewis Lazare: He’s baaaack! Thomas Kemeny that is, the plucky Columbia College/Chicago valedictorian who graduated last spring with the dream of becoming an ad man. Soon after graduating, Kemeny departed for an internship at the very hot and happening Crispin Porter + Bogusky ad agency in Miami.
Now Kemeny has returned to Chicago, where he continues to learn his craft as a free-lancer at the city’s largest agency, Leo Burnett. The Crispin gig, Kemeny told us Tuesday, was a real learning experience.
That’s great, but we wanted to know what the vibe was like at Crispin, especially compared to shops he has interned at in Chicago. Very fast-paced, he said, perhaps because a lot of the Crispin staff were East Coasters, with a hefty infusion of Texans for good measure. And the hours were very long. “Twenty-hour days weren’t uncommon,” Kemeny said.

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. Carl LaFong says:

    Forgive me for appearing even more churlish than usual, but I am compelled to ask: Why exactly is Mr. Kemeny newsworthy? Is Mr. Lazare that hard up for something to write about? I don’t mean to disparage Mr. Kemeny, but come on. As the late existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre would have so eloquently put it, “Oy vey!”

  2. I hear ya. Perhaps the Chicago ad scene is not sufficiently exciting for Lazare.
    As far as my interest in the story, it’s all about the SWEAT SHOP perched atop our industry for the moment.
    Seriously, how can one do great work if one never leaves work?

  3. Geoff Bradley says:

    This is a follow-up to Mr Lazare’s blockbusting 11-para lead story in his 6/9/05 column.
    So far as Google and I can tell, no other news organization has followed up on it, so who can blame Lew for capitalizing on an exclusive?
    I for one am hoping that it becomes a regular feature.
    Where does Mr Kemeny recommend for lunch on Michigan Avenue? How does Chicago agency decor compare with out east?