Alex Bogusky Zigs, Where Others Zag

Alex Bogusky, 46, has stopped to smell the literal, not proverbial, flowers. He’s also “severed all ties” with MDC and Crispin Porter & Bogusky.
Here’s what Fast Company has to say about it:

According to Bogusky, “Miles [Nadal, CEO of MDC] started getting phone calls from some clients that didn’t like things that I had said.” Bogusky has annoyed Crispin clients before, most specifically when he published a book “9-Inch Diet” which protested America’s supersize tendencies–something that didn’t go over well with notable client Burger King and Domino’s (both of which are still with Crispin). These days he blogs and has a Web TV show called “Fearless TV,” in which he rails against genetically modified food and questions consumerism in general. “Miles was cool about it, but to me I just thought this is going to happen over and over, and I’ve barely begun. It’s like, everyone’s got enough going on, so I don’t want MDC to have to deal with damage control. So Miles and I basically went back to plan A–retirement.”

The New York Times, naturally, is also on the story.

Mr. Bogusky said, “you start to search for the more genuine version of yourself” at a point in your life, “and I’m doing that.”
“I’m exploring and figuring out what is that genuine version,” he added, “and it’s not really consistent with corporate life” because in that realm “you’re kind of in the ‘get yours’ mode.”
“I don’t think I’ll do much advertising” moving forward, Mr. Bogusky said, because “I’ve done plenty of it; I’m not able to find challenges in it.”

Clearly, Bogusky is a man of character and he’s living “the examined life.” I wondered how Boulder would change him and his agency, and we’ve been finding out in various little, and sometimes not so little ways, ever since the tide of ad people from Miami washed up on the pretty Front Range college town.
Personally, I think it’s great to see some anti-corporate sentiment in Bogusky’s departure. Serving corporate America’s interests takes a toll on a person. However, it can also become fuel for another fire, and that sounds like where Bogusky is going with it. He told the Times, he’s considering mentoring and getting involved with various TV projects as a host or producer/director. There will also be time for his family, time to ride his bike and time to smell each and every one of Boulder’s blooming flowers.
UPDATE: Jim Edwards at BNET gets to the heart of this story, when he uncovers MDC’s recent 10-Q filing with the SEC.
In December 2009, MDC paid an additional $38,974,000 earnout fee to the founders of the agency. That kind of cushion certainly makes walking away from his $2 mil. annual salary a bit easier to do.



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.