Chuckin’ It

Kudos to Inc. for writing about the other guy (and original creative force) behind CP+B. I’m tired of seeing Alex Bogusky’s name up in lights.

Since 1987, when Chuck Porter joined the Miami-based ad agency now known as Crispin, Porter + Bogusky, the firm has blossomed. Annual billings have increased tenfold, to the $500 million range. How did Porter and his three managing partners pull this off? By not managing much at all. “We always assumed that the people who came to work here were just as smart as we were,” Porter, 59, explains. “And we never really tried — in any traditional way — to manage people. Because I think that really good people are unmanageable to begin with.”
As a guiding philosophy, this sounds close to reckless, and Porter acknowledges that with almost 300 employees, a certain amount of hierarchy is inevitable. Still, he offers examples, large and small, of how this aversion to managing is balanced against the realities of growth. The agency’s newish home, a renovated movie theater in Coconut Grove, is a case in point. Porter’s instructions for the designer: “Do not design this thing for efficiency. Don’t put the printers next to the studio. Don’t put the broadcast department right next to the creative department. Put them in all different corners so everyone’s got to walk all through the joint every day.”



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.