CPB Chairman Chuck Porter On Advertising, Purpose & Mega Mergers

CPB Chairman Chuck Porter On Advertising, Purpose & Mega Mergers

Crispin Porter Bogusky (CPB) partner and chairman Chuck Porter may have missed his flight to Australia, but he still delivered on stage at Advertising Week’s APAC Conference, touching on holding companies, creativity and the battle agencies face in scaling local ideas.

One of the main points that Porter made was the importance of brands to be authentic with their advertising messages.

“What companies do resonate way beyond their advertising,” Porter said, referencing the recent explosion of purpose-led advertising.

“Facebook was recently fined $US5 billion. I think more people will remember that than the last Facebook ad they saw.”

In this connected world, Porter stressed that “transparency is the new black”, adding that consumers are more aware if a brand’s messages don’t match their actions.

When it comes to the changing demands on creative agencies, Porter said that agencies moving forward “have to be nimble, agile and prolific because an idea doesn’t last very long these days”.

With ideas having a shorter shelf life, they have to go beyond broadcast and generate buzz tor resonate. He gave the example of CPB’s work for Kraft Heinz as a brand that has leveraged the power of buzz.

In 2016, the brand wanted to change their Mac & Cheese recipe to only natural ingredients but faced backlash from parents. So, the brand changed the recipe, but didn’t tell anyone for three months when they issued print ads notifying customers of the change.


Another idea that he says stepped outside of traditional framework, was the agency’s work for Carlsberg. To celebrate the 25-year anniversary of the partnership between Carlsberg and Liverpool FC, CPB created a special Liverpool Fan Beer. The hop plants used to brew the beer were grown with sights and sounds from Liverpool FC games and in soil from Anfield Stadium. The result was beer that tastes like dedication and victory, according to Porter.

Porter doesn’t deny that technology has a role to play in advertising, but he stills backs the art of creativity and storytelling as the main differentiator for brands.

“Advertising is about commerce, it’s not about art. However, the question is – what makes you a more effective person at commerce? Based on my experience the work that people pay attention to, fall in love with – that’s what works. That’s always been our experience.”

As for the mega mergers across adland happening at holding groups, such as WPP’s VML and Y&R smash up, Porter isn’t as cynical as some of his competitors. He said mergers aren’t a new thing in advertising, and when executed in respect of existing cultures, can actually be a positive move for agencies.

“I’m not a futurist at all. I’ve never tried to predict the future because I think it’s a waste of time. But, I think holding companies are financial institutions and their job is to increase shareholder value. That is what they are supposed to do. So, they do that and in what they see is the best way and some people say it’s way too short-term,” he added.

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Chuck Porter Crispin Porter Bogusky

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