Bogusky Fires Back

Looks like Jim Edwards got Alex Bogusky’s attention with his BNET piece last week that placed the blame for BK’s departure from Crispin Porter & Bogusky squarely on Bogusky’s shoulders.

Words like this will do that to a man: “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.”

I don’t know what led Edwards to make a personal attack like that, but he obviously feels strongly about the topic, or he would not have put those words under his byline.

Here’s Bogusky’s retort:

We resigned several accounts over the years but none bigger than Miller Brewing. And what a shit storm that was. The client was beyond angry, ballistic, and although we sent out a release explaining our decision they decided to claim they had fired us. Whatever. People are free to say whatever they need to, to keep their Board of Directors happy, I suppose. But what was frustrating and somewhat telling was the fact that the advertising trade press reported it that way, even though they knew the truth because they had been made privy to the decision prior to the announcement.

My sense is that this comes from a couple of places. First, the advertising press doesn’t know shit about the advertising business in that none of them has ever been in a senior job at a decent agency. Because of this, they are sure that all billing is created equal and they are confused by the idea that it is not. Second, there is a certain self-loathing that exists in this industry that is hard to quite understand. But it prevents the agencies from actually rallying around one another in the face of the mistruths reported to capture attention. In my career, I’ve seen the advertising trade press take the same ride toward sensationalism that most of the mainstream press has taken. It’s a shame.

Sensationalism? I don’t think so. The ad business does look good on AMC, but in real life it’s a grind, an egofest, a hyper-competitive little club. In other words, there’s nothing sensational about it. Sure, Edwards’ barbs smart if you happen to be the target, but saying the advertising press doesn’t “know shit about the advertising business” is woefully short of the truth. Does a foreign corespondent need to first work in the Russian government, to bring context to a story about Russia? No. Did Randall Rothenberg need to work “in a senior job at a decent agency” to write Where the Suckers Moon, one of the best books on the inner workings of an agency ever written? No.

I respect Bogusky’s work and if we ever meet, I expect to like the man too. But he’s missing the boat on this. There are times to respond to negative press and times to keep your head down.

Previously on AdPulp: Looking To Find A Cause For The BK Split, Jim Edwards Flamebroils Alex Bogusky

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About David Burn

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.