Hicks’ 1-2-3

Business 2.0 asked 50 of the brightest minds in business how they do what they do – and how you can cash in on their advice in the year ahead. Here’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky CEO Jeff Hicks’ response:

Make Your Brand Part of the Conversation
There are three things I think about the most when it comes to making it as a marketer these days. The first one is there’s no amount of money I can pay to get my commercial in front of you, because you can powerfully edit what you spend time with. So my job as a marketer is no longer to interrupt, but to produce content that is so relevant, interesting, entertaining, and involving that my best consumers won’t want to live without it.
The second thing is understanding that instead of brochures and trade shows, marketing now really begins with the product. Great companies are investing a lot of time and attention into trying to make products that market themselves.
The last piece is that user-generated content has made it possible for consumers to own your brand, and if they don’t, you’re not doing your job. The brands that are adopted, blogged about, and parodied the most are the ones that are going to win because they’re involved in the evolution of pop culture. If you’re scared to have your brand played with, you’re going to be left behind.

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. I love the way these guys re-invent the wheel and everyone thinks they are some kind of fucking guru. Basically all he’s saying, with a great deal less clarity, is what Howard Gossage said fucking years ago… “People don’t read advertising, they read what they’re interested in, and sometimes that’s advertising.” That’s why ten years from now most of these wankers will be long forgotten… But, I’ll still remember Howard though! Oh, and how do you qualify as “One of the 50 brightest minds in business?”

  2. Context is key. If he didn’t work at CP+B, I doubt he’d have much of an audience for his message. But he does work there, so he must be a genius. Right?

  3. David
    Jesus your right… He probably came up with “Man-Laws” so he must be a genius. Maybe he wheels Burt from the plastic surgeon to the shoot whenever they need him. But then again, he did say brands that are parodied are going to win. Or maybe he’s a parody of himself… Shit, that’s clever, no wonder he gets the big bucks!

  4. not hating says:

    man, i just have to say, these ad blogs are getting way too much of a forum for haters.
    I worked at cp+b for several years and have since moved on to another shop. cp+b may not hit every ball over the fence, but it’s not right to personally go after Hicks.
    He’s one of the smartest, and, more importantly, one of the kindest humans i’ve encountered in this all too unkind business. i think he deserves every ounce of the praise he gets. he doesn’t ask for it either.
    don’t bash a man you’ve never even met.

  5. Dear “Not Hating,”
    AdPulp exists to critically look at brands and those who manage them. Having said that, George and I have not said anything bad about the man we have not met. The beef is about how certain industry leaders–Hicks is but one–regurgitate age old maxims to overly eager journalists lacking the depth of experience in this field to properly judge whether the ideas are new or not.