CP+B Announces That It Will Be Quitting All Awards Shows

Alex Bogusky introduces 'The Quitty Awards'

The agency assures Adweek that this move is not a stunt. - Credit by CP+B
Headshot of Patrick Coffee

In a move that echoes Publicis Groupe’s headlining decision to pull out of this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Crispin Porter + Bogusky announced today that it will no longer enter any awards shows.

Partner and chief creative engineer Alex Bogusky, who dramatically rejoined the MDC Partners shop in August after an eight-year absence from advertising, made the announcement in a tweet earlier today in which he introduced “The Quitty Awards,” a fake awards show dedicated to agencies that decide, as the name suggests, to follow his lead in putting an end to all awards show submissions.

The agency also created a website encouraging other shops to compete for “the last award you will ever win.”

An agency spokesperson assured Adweek that this is not a stunt and that the agency will indeed cease all awards show submissions moving forward. CP+B even wrote up a press release. The winner of the first such award, of course, is the agency itself.

“Like most agencies we’re addicted to award shows, and with a new award popping up every week it’s difficult to stop. That’s why we’re so excited about the Grand Quitty. It allows us to feed our ravenous egos and at the same time get off the award-show treadmill that last year cost us 3.8 bazillion dollars,” Bogusky said in a statement.

He continued, “Is it a coincidence that awards and award shows have expanded at the same time that ad industry revenues have contracted? Maybe. But it’s certainly a sign we’re not focused on the right things. We’re thrilled to be recognized by the Quitty Committee for putting our time and energy into Gut+, our lean/agile process for creating fresh, unexpected and highly-effective advertising assets without the crazy guesswork.”

The release went on to criticize the wisdom of “employing focus groups of middle-aged creative directors” to judge the effectiveness and quality of work at a time when creative agencies, more than any other sort of business in the ad industry, are struggling to maintain their once-lofty stature (and the attendant revenues).

This is not the first bold move Bogusky has made since returning to CP+B.

Earlier this month, he announced that the agency would be closing its Los Angeles office after 17 years, calling it “redundant” and stating that it was “distracting” CP+B from focusing on making high-quality work. During an Advertising Week panel appearance, he also stated that agencies should not have ping-pong tables, because “If you’re doing advertising right, it should be fun.”

At the same panel, he described his own return to the industry as “like going into a coma and waking up eight years later” and discussed the aforementioned Gut+ program as a way to assign a more prominent role to data in the creative process.

The Quitty Awards themselves are clearly a joke, even if the announcement is real. The website lays out the reasons why awards shows are no longer worthwhile, citing the cost of entry, the fact that they are “not an accurate measure of creative effectiveness,” that they are not relevant to clients, and that the “next generation of talent does not value” them.

The site also credits Publicis, which managed to place several executives on this year’s Cannes Festival juries and win a slew of major awards despite its famous ban.

It remains to be seen whether CP+B creatives agree with Bogusky’s conclusions. Parties with knowledge of the matter confirm that MDC Partners, which has been going through well-documented financial struggles and recently referred to its first half results as “poor” before announcing the departure of CEO Scott Kauffman, did not play a role in creating the Quitty Awards.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.