Crispin Porter + Bogusky Loses VW

Crispin Porter + Bogusky Loses VW

You probably love or hate Crispin Porter + Bogusky. You may not know them by name, but you’ve seen their advertising work. Think the King, Big Buck’n Chicken or Whopper Freak-out from Burger King. Or Windows Mojave, Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates or I’m a PC from Microsoft. And for the last four years, anything that you have seen from VW.

Volkswagon has had a storied advertising past, from their iconic “Think Small” from DDB in the 50’s, through the cultural phenomena that was the VW microbus in the 60’s. They were early venturers in product placement in the 70’s with the Herbie the Lovebug films, and through the 80’s and 90’s expanded their Jetta, Rabbit, Golf and Passat lineups with advertising that was way above par. In the Early 2000’s, Arnold Worldwide was doing extremely interactive and fun things with the brand, starting with the launch of the New Beetle and extending that buzz across their entire brand. I remember the “There’s a yellow one.” ads off the top of my head.

But in 2005, something that happens quite frequently, but isn’t talked about much, happened. A marketing executive from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, left to change jobs. As a matter of happenstance, she went to work for a “small” car company called Volkswagon. And when it was time for an agency review, guess what agency she favored. Goodbye Arnold, hello CP+B and more personally, goodbye to my College plan to work for Arnold here in STL.

Anyway, you may remember the “My Fast” campaign, featuring a little humming creature sitting in the passenger seat of thos drivers that find it hard to control their fast. That was one of the earliest CP+B VW campaigns. Subsequent campaigns have featured extremely realistic and often unexpected car crashes, a lot of lame but funny usage of “Germa-nglish” like “Unpimp Mein Auto”, and recently a talk show-esque set of spots, featuring a pristine vintage Bug as the host.

No more. C’est la vie.

VW is looking to become more mainstream, and they don’t feel that Crispin Porter + Bogusky is the right agency to get them there. I can’t help but agree with them. Look, people love to hate CP+B, or at least root against them, but they have done a good job, especially with VW. sites that VW’s market share climbed:

“to 2% from 1.6% through July, according to Automotive News figures, the result of a 13.5% sales decline as the decimated auto market as a whole fell 32%”

But, I describe Crispin as a “Underdog” shop. Their style and marketing sensibilities cater to clients that have nothing to lose in gaining ground in the consumer conscious and pocket book. Look at Burger King, Dominos and Sprite as examples of that. All of which are chasing giants.

Even their Microsoft Vista stuff screams, “We’re not as good, but…

So, for VW, if they want to become a more mainstream choice, and yet maintain their immaculate brand, I don’t think that CP+B is the right agency for them.

Many VW lovers are worried about their beloved brand trying for the mainstream, especially as so many mainstream automakers are failing. But, I don’t see how wanting a larger market share does not require cannibalizing your niche brand or charm. There is no reason why when someone is shopping for a Honda or Toyota (which are a lot of people), they shouldn’t also be thinking VW (which is not as many people). And Honda and Toyota’s public perception, brand and quaity hasn’t been compromised. At least not as I see it.

VW will find an agency that will do them right. And now is the time when market share is up for grabs as we come out of the recession. I don’t fear that they will go the Krispy Kreme route, and toss their brand and let quality suffer for short term profitability. Plus every ad man and woman has dreamed about this “holy grail” of accounts. Anyone who gets their hands on it will handle it with the respect and creativity it deserves.


Here’s a look back ad VW ads from the past (Stolen from this blog):

Fun work

Martin Luther King Tribute

I wanted to attempt this style  in February, and being Black History Month I chose the Rev. as my muse.

His face is made up of the words of his epic Lincoln Memorial “I have a dream…” speech.

Take a look. I am having it framed as I type.

Smoking Goat Branding

I like beer.

Beer high in flavor, alcohol and price. I brew at home, but wouldn’t consider myself very good at this point. I’m working on it.

We have friends in Louisiana who I would consider really good. I designed some branding for their forthcoming brewery down there.

The Smoking Goat will hopefully be amazing, especially if I get some good beer out of the deal.

Have a look. Then drink a beer and have a look again. Continue this process until the logo looks awesome.

New Poster

This is a poster I made for my buddy Dustin.

A classic quote from him as we drove by Effingham, IL’s infamous and huge cross.

I thought it would look good in his new apartment.

Sheltered Perceptions

I recently got the chance to work on a project for the Humane Society. Given the fact that every time I walk into an animal shelter I have to be talked down from taking home every animal in the place, I was happy to help in anyway I could.

With the majority of pet buying in the United States coming from breeders, mall pet shops and unfortunately mills, animal shelters (specifically the Humane Society) are left overflowing with pets that need loving homes. They are running into a perception problem however, and many misconceptions about shelter pets are accepted as fact, and often repeated as such.

To get past this, we decided to take the problem head on, and address the most common misconceptions individually.

Here is where we landed:

Humane Society - Misconceptions"Mutt"

Humane Society - Misconceptions - "Bark"

Lauren and Dan sit’n in a tree…

My good friend Lauren is getting married in July, and though I am extremely jealous of her fiance Dan (don’t tell my wife), I made their save the date cards.

I use VistaPrint to print these types of things. Though the quality suffers, and the rumor is that they are destroying local community printers nationwide, for the price they can’t be beat. Check them out next time you want to customize your own holiday card or invitation.

Here’s how Lauren’s STDs turned out: