Looking To Find A Cause For The BK Split, Jim Edwards Flamebroils Alex Bogusky

Few people who write with a journalistic take on the ad business are as provocative as Jim Edwards. And commenting on Burger King’s decision to split with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, he aims straight for Alex Bogusky after tracing the timeline of agency and client changes:

And while Bogusky was once hailed as a creative genius who grew a small Miami ad shop into a global presence, he now looks like a destructive egomaniac who trashed his clients and walked out on his colleagues as soon as it made him colossally rich. While CP+B could not control the changes at the client, Bogusky’s actions were all well within his control and entirely preventable. Way to go, Alex.

Wow. Those are pretty harsh words. Not that Edwards is alone in voicing that point of view. But let’s look at the bigger picture: Is Edwards suggesting that even in agencies that produce incredibly creative campaigns, things still hinge on crucial agency-client relationships and the magnetism of some personalities? Perhaps that’s been the case many times, I’m sure we can find several other examples. So how are some agencies able to survive management changes with their clients still intact?

As an aside, I feel for whichever agency is next in line for Burger King. Because they can’t win, no matter what they do. The work will always be compared to innovative ideas like “Subservient Chicken” and “Whopper Sacrifice.” Heaven help them if they do some sort of conventional value-based price and item campaign that happens to boost sales. No matter what the next agency does, they’ll incur the wrath of both franchisees and the advertising critics.

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 TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com 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.

  • BigBuzz Kevin

    BK’s leaving CP+B may be related to Alex’s leaving CP+B, but certainly not related to anything he did while he was there. How can he be credited for building an agency from 40 to 1000 people than discredited when he leaves, and become the root for all that was/is bad? He left some very capable people behind at the helm, and I respect his conviction to leave when the business no longer matched his values. I think everyone just needs to stop vilifying Bogusky for leaving and let CP+B stand on its own 2000 feet for their victories and failures. Nuff Said!

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  • Jim Edwards

    Hi, I’d like to clarify a couple of things. 1. I didn’t blame Alex as the soul cause of the BK loss, but as a preventable contributing factor. AdPulp’s posts on this issue overstate what I actually wrote. 2. Alex’s post doesn’t deny anything I wrote. 3. Alex qualifies his post with words that indicate he doesn’t know exactly what went down (“my sense …”, “if,” and “my guess.”) Lastly, Alex says reporters often buy the line that clients fire agencies when that isn’t true. What is to stop agencies from telling the truth when they drop clients? If agencies don’t say it, you can’t blame reporters for not quoting them saying it.

    • Anonymous

      soul = sole, obvs.

      • Machinery

        But Jim, you have to admit … the vilification of Boguski in you piece is more than a little harsh, no? You seem extra angry … and when that happens, something else is afoot (Jealousy, axe to grind, etc???) No doubt he made Crispin incredibly successful and rich. How can you now blame him?

        • BigBuzz Kevin

          Here here