Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Miami Mercenary

Chapter Thirty Two
Great Man – Chuck Porter

I worked for Chuck Porter in 1994-95. He is president of Crispin, Porter + Bogusky (in Miami). This is arguably the hottest agency in America. They have won a boat-load of awards and have gotten a ton of press and incredible “buzz” as a Hot Creative Shop. Chuck is a boyhood pal of Pat Fallon (founder of Fallon McElligott Rice). Chuck is a law school dropout. Chuck was a part of a successful freelance writing team – a job you can have while spending a lot of your time windsurfing in Miami. He was a talented guy - with not too much direction – until he found he could be an effective creative director and writer – first with his partner at Porter & Breen. (This team of freelance writers who would occasionally show up in plumber coveralls and ask bluntly “so where’s the problem?” as they approached what they did almost as mercenaries in New York, Minneapolis, California, Miami and around the country.)

Chuck took a real job at around age 40 as creative director of a boring agency that handled a lot of tourism advertising – designing and printing brochures and running a few small retail advertising campaigns in South Florida. Chuck turned the agency into a hot shop and himself into a star. Eventually he managed to buy a stake in the agency – push out Sam Crispin’s son, bring in other talented creative people and attract business that put the agency on the map.

He hired Alex Bogusky – a dashing great man in his own right and maybe 20 years younger than Chuck. The agency under Chuck’s leadership, in spite of what appears to be a flakey style, prospered until he sold 49% ownership to MDC (a Canadian holding company).

Chuck and Alex and the agency with the added funding were able to land the Burger King account a few years ago. $300,000,000 in billings can cover up a lot of creative mis-steps and at least for the time being makes CP+B and MDC look like pretty good investments. Chuck and Alex are rich, famous (in the ad biz) and two great men.

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