Go Small Or Go Home

John Keehler of Random Culture says let’s give credit where credit is due.
He points out, rightly, that Campfire and The Barbarian Group, played huge roles in the development of Audi’s “Art of the Heist” campaign and BK’s Subservient Chicken campaign, respectively. Yet, McKinney and Crispin Porter seem to get all the accolades.
Can’t we all just drive our Audis to Burger King and bask in the glory?

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. While I agree that those companies played large roles in the projects, McKinney and CPB get the majority of credit because they came up with the concept in the first place. It’s like any other advertising; who gets the main credit for a beautiful print ad? The agency, or the photographer?

  2. Do you know that for a fact? That these ideas were germinated in Durham and Miami? Maybe they were. I don’t know.
    I do know that concept is king. At the same time, you’re nowhere without splendid execution.

  3. I know for a fact that CPB came up with the Subservient Chicken concept, then used the Barbarian Group (right here in chilly Boston), to execute it. As for “Art of the Heist,” it’s just an educated guess that McKinney originated the concept. Why would they get any credit at all if they didn’t?

  4. its true in the case of subservient chicken that cpb came up with the concept of a subservient chicken, and we had nothing to do with the creation of the character, but the specific concept of the website was a collaboration w/ us, and ideas for execution (and actual execution of course) came from the barbarian group.
    but its also true we are not after the glory like an agency is. we don’t win the accounts, we don’t manage the clients, and about half the time the clients don’t even know we exist. we do like it that way, in most cases; its great creative freedom to not have to deal with that end of things. and we are certainly not responsible for a brand, just a project, so in the big scheme of things of course the agency deserves credit for a successful campaign no matter how it came together.
    but at the same time we do want a certain amount of credit in the advertising industry, because that’s how we get business. there’s been a lot of industry press about campaigns we’ve worked on (this one and others) where they mention the director of the tv spots but not us, and in most of those cases we did a hell of a lot more conceptual work than a director working off a storyboard. but i don’t really think that’s the fault of the advertising agency – its got a lot more to do with the interactive advertising industry being so new, and it is pretty confusing to figure out who did what, and how it came together. traditional media has had decades to work out a consistent process for the roles of all the parties involved and we’re a long way off for that to be the case with interactive.
    but in any case, its cool that people are finally noticing that there’s a lot of people behind the scenes.