01 Oct 2002
Thinking Outside the Centerfold
With a slumping economy and an increasing number of communications outlets
competing for diminishing advertising dollars, media companies have had to give
ground to attract advertisers. A case in point was graphically evident last spring in
Playboy magazine, when Miss June deferred her coveted centerfold position to a car,
the new Mini from BMW. Behind this coup was a hot new advertising agency, Miami-based
Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CPB), whose president is Jeff Hicks (MBA '97). With a
client list that includes IKEA, Bacardi, Molson Beer, and Coca-Cola, CPB was named
Adweek magazine's Agency of the Year for the Southeast region in 2001. Calling
it a year of maturation, Hicks explained his firm's success by
saying, We uncovered a depth in the agency that had not previously been
acknowledged inside or outside the shop (Adweek, January 28, 2002). With annual
billings of $225 million and some 160 employees working in Miami and a new Los
Angeles office, CPB is now garnering plenty of attention.
But CPB had shown indications a few years earlier that it might become a force to
be reckoned with. Its antismoking Truth campaign, which began in Florida
in 1997, played to teenagers' natural rebelliousness and got them to thinking
about how tobacco companies exploit them. Experts consider the Truth
campaign to be one of the most successful social marketing efforts of recent years.
Said Hicks, The things we're most noted for have nothing to do with
advertising and everything to do with advertising. We're this hybrid company
that creates and distributes creative content designed to make brands famous.