For the past five years, every advertising agency on Madison Avenue has been waiting for Boulder-based Crispin Porter + Bogusky to hit its creative sophomore slump.
In the meantime, the irreverent shop has been quietly staking its claim for Boulder as the new Madison Avenue, doing not so quiet work for clients such as Volkswagen, Coke, and Burger King (think "Whopper Freakout" stunt). Most recently the shop stunned the industry when it used its mojo to win the Microsoft business, a $300 million account that seemed diametrically opposed to the coolest kids in advertising. But in Crispin fashion, the shop fully embraced its style of advertising jujitsu. The resulting "I'm a PC" campaign not only made Microsoft's nemesis, Apple, look smug but offensive.
CPB: Crispin co-opts Apple's "Get a Mac" campaign and debunks it with hip surfers, African schoolkids, Eva Longoria, and more.
TBWA: TBWA steps up the narrative to meta heights, using Apple's John Hodgman -- Justin Long duo to mock Microsoft's $300 million ad blitz.
CPB: Makes Apple ads look smug and insulting to Microsoft users, who actually are, we realize, all of us.
TBWA: The comedic act aggressively reminds users that Microsoft is more interested in spinning its image than fixing its lackluster product.
Best Sound Bite
CPB: Says the Microsoft engineer: "I'm a PC, and I've been made into a stereotype."
TBWA: Says Long to Hodgman: "Do you really think that amount of money is going to fix Vista?" Responds Hodgman: "I guess you're right. I'll just put it all in advertising."
Clever Image Inversion
CPB: Crispin uses earnestness to make the bully (Microsoft) look like the underdog.
TBWA: TBWA uses snark to make the bully (Apple) look like the underdog.
CPB: Crispin's "Whopper Freakout" campaign for Burger King drives Whopper sales up 29% and is the most recalled ad in years.
TBWA: TWBA wins $600 million Visa Global account.
The New Cola Wars
CPB: Client Coke Zero posts double-digit growth while the rest of the category in North America fizzled.
TBWA: Snatches Pepsi account away from BBDO, the drink maker's agency for 48 years.