Alex Bogusky Interview


What is the word in the ad world? This month SpotXchange CEO Mike Shehan talks to Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s Chief Creative Officer Alex Bogusky about the growth of his company and the past and future of marketing.

Michael Shehan: How did Crispin Porter + Bogusky grow so large, so quickly?
Alex Bogusky: I don’t think it really did. Our growth has generally been about 20 percent a year, which is wonderful so I don’t mean to dismiss that. But we’ve always been careful not to grow too fast and careful not to let it grow into something that we don’t love being a part of. So that has meant saying no to some really great opportunities just because we knew we couldn’t absorb the business and still keep up the standards.

There have been some decisions beyond controlling growth that I think put us on a tack to grow. The first was years ago we decided to become a small national agency instead of a midsize regional agency. So that meant we would take small national accounts over large local or regional accounts. It ultimately made it much easier for us to grow because as we began to attract the attention of larger national accounts our experience was in line with what they needed and the way they marketed.

Although I cant say it was actually a decision, the other piece that really helped us in the long run was we developed several philosophies about advertising that were distinct from most agencies and got pretty good at actually executing those philosophies across pretty diverse media. I think being off the beaten path of the major ad markets allowed us to think about our business without the middling influences that come from being too steeped in the current thinking.

MS: What has changed the most about creating and marketing a brand over the past 10 to 20 years?
AB: Jeez. That’s a huge time frame. So much has changed. I could go on about what has changed in the last five years for hours. But the fundamental move has been consumers gaining more choices and more control over their media consumption. And that has forced marketers to offer the consumer more in exchange for their time. It’s also made the content that you advertise in not just an ally but also the enemy for the battle to get attention. Used to be that when advertisers thought about the competitive landscape it was pretty forward thinking to believe that advertising outside your category was the competition. Now it’s all that plus any other piece of entertainment or news that is competing for a sliver of attention.

MS: What is attractive to you about online video advertising? What can you do with it that you can’t with TV?
AB: Well it’s new and developing rabidly in sophistication so that’s exciting.

But I guess within all the newness and innovation I see a new model that will actually become a stable and reliable way to reach people. I’m able to reach people in a way where I really know I have their attention because they just selected a piece of content. Now all I have to do is be smart and entertaining enough that they appreciate the sponsorship. That’s easier than the challenge on network TV right now. And the tools that are developing in way where I can find people in corners of the web that in the past were too difficult to deliver a message to. So I can find my demo wherever they are.

So I’m no longer stuck to trying to buy media on a small universe of sites like and to try to deliver my goals.

And we can fine tune the creative and the buy real time, which is absolutely nuts. That takes days to do with traditional broadcast.

Explore posts in the same categories: Mike Shehan, Newsletter - SpotXchange Insight

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One Comment on “Alex Bogusky Interview”

  1. Bret Morstad Says:

    I’m a big fan of Alex and his way forward thinking on where advertising goes. He really brought the concept of branded entertainment up a notch or two and his innovations have been copied repeatedly. Custom short form programming/advertising (is there a difference anymore?) for niche video audiences/demographics is what broadband video is.

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