A Crispin Porter + Bogusky primer

An intense, hard-working place with an environmentalist twist

| Mar 30, 2010

What’s it like to be part of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, one of the marketing world’s hottest companies? We recently heard a talk by Dave Kingsbury, whose title at CP+B (as they like to punctuate themselves) is “senior cognitive anthropologist.”

The Crispin Porter bus helps staffers get out of their cars

The Crispin Porter bus helps staffers get out of their cars (Photo: Adweek)

Kingsbury was addressing an attentive 20-something audience at Boulder Digital Works at CU, a newly minted school for digital creatives that is housed in an ultra-modern space above Brasserie Ten Ten restaurant on Walnut St. in downtown Boulder.

Dave Kingsbury (Reporter photo)

Dave Kingsbury (Reporter photo)

Kingsbury’s former company, a “qualitative market research” firm named Radar Communications, was acquired by CP+B in 2007. Thus Kingsbury now commutes from Nederland (where he’s lived for 22 years) to CP+B’s two-building complex in Gunbarrel. From Nederland. To Gunbarrel. By bicycle. Yes. The man is clearly at home on a bicycle.  

Kingsbury’s work at CP+B focuses on researching both cultural and business issues for CP+B clients.

Alex Bogusky (Photo: Justin TV)

Alex Bogusky (Photo: Justin TV)

Of CP+B’s 1,100 employees, 450 are at the Gunbarrel site, with the rest mostly divided between Miami and the firm’s European shop in Gothenburg, Sweden. Clients range from such behemoths as Microsoft, Burger King, Best Buy and Domino’s Pizza to at least one relatively minute entity, the Boulder startup Green Garage.  

Work at CP+B is intense

One easily infers from Kingsbury’s account that working at CP+B is intense. Sometimes, he said, “you see someone wearing the same clothes Thursday that they had on Monday.” And, yes, he says, “CP+B is a cult” — a place where “full-time is full-time.” A company concierge helps employees deal with those distracting details of daily life.

No humdrum corporate citizen, CP+B is known for its own biodiesel-powered bus, which can be spotted picking up and delivering employees on Boulder streets. The bus, labeled “Disruptive Thinker Transport” on the front, enables some 80 employees to not drive cars on any given day, Kingsbury said. One of the firm’s favorite current projects is B-cycle, a program to put rentable bicycles into cities that was inspired by a similar system in Paris. Some 600 bikes are scheduled to be placed at self-service rental sites around Denver on Earth Day, April 22. The program is also rolling out in San Diego and Chattanooga, Tenn., and CP+B clearly hopes to be part of a bike-sharing program that’s now at the request-for-proposals stage in Boulder.

Part of CP+B’s impact on Boulder, Kingsbury said, is that there’s quite a bit of turnover, and some former CP+B employees end up staying in Boulder and starting such spinoff companies as Victors and Spoils, quartered on Pearl St. downtown. CP+B also regularly refers business to other Boulder marketing, advertising and design firms, Kingsbury said.

From a variety of adulatory remarks, Kingsbury is clearly a huge fan of Alex Bogusky (pronounced Buh-GUS-kee), a CP+B principal who’s now working out of a Walnut St. atelier. Bogusky divides his time between working for Toronto-based parent company MDC Partners — which acquired a controlling interest in CP+B in late 2007 — and writing a book. Ah, the ad biz. The stories he could tell.

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