Interactive Mole Infiltrates Crispin Porter + Bogusky

I just want to say hello to you all and thanks to Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CPB). I have just resigned from four years as as an Interactive Mole for CPB. I’d also like to thank Alex Bogusky for such a wonderful time. It was truly a blessing to get to work with such a talented interactive team.

If you don’t have the time to read the entire summary this is the concept in a nutshell:

* Invented a fictitious job called the Interactive Mole for Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
* Worked embedded as the mole without anyone’s knowledge for four years, without pay.
* Officially resigned from it before my cover was blown.
* Asked for and received a LinkedIn recommendation for a position that did not exist
from Alex Bogusky.

So with that said, I want to introduce this concept for looking for work and possibly setting yourself apart from the pack. Four years ago I was working for an ad agency as an Interactive Producer. I was trying to doggedly gain employment with CPB. I loved how they were creating a branch in Boulder and how they have really been at the cutting edge of the Interactive World for years now. I think all Interactive folks would like to be a part of what they are doing or have done to some extent.

I did make contact with Winston Binch at CPB. We had several email volleys and it looked like it was going really well, but somewhere along the way communication was lost. I could have easily given up and thrown in the towel. Instead, I decided to not to quit trying. So I invented a new position for CPB called the Interactive Mole. My last email was to Winston telling him I would contact him later with information and my findings. I was going to work for them regardless and that they were not going to have to pay me one penny. The mission was to be embedded deeply at other agencies and see how they did their creative work. I was to report back my findings as time permitted.

Well life went on and I honestly just continued working and living. My wife and I had two little girls in the process and our oldest is turning four years old very soon. Quickly four years had passed and I decided to see if anyone would find it interesting what had happened while being deeply embedded for CPB. I contacted Alex Bogusky through LinkedIn and told him about the position. He thought it was funny enough and got a good laugh out of it. To be honest I was amazed he emailed me back.

I also contacted him through Twitter and we had a tweet volley. I posted about it here.
also: (for a headache)

And we continued to discuss my position as their Interactive Mole as he had no idea how deep under cover I had been for all of those years. I sent him a list of rules not to follow in order to do great advertising, from my findings along the way. It wasn’t exactly what he expected so I thought I’d give it another attempt. After thinking it through, I felt that conceptually it would be more interesting if the mole resigned. So I turned in an official resignation letter into Bogusky and the interactive heads at CPB. Afterward I asked Bogusky for a reference for my work, thinking if I could get that then it would truly be a completed project regardless of if they hired me or not. Alex followed through and wrote me a recommendation for my work as an Interactive Mole. You can read the job description and the recommendation on my LinkedIn profile.

Now some might say this is a bit insane. I would agree. In my defense I would like to say, “What do you have to lose?” In times like these, with the economy the way it is, can you imagine how many resumes Human Resources and Creative Directors receive daily? Also, this project has made CPB history and I would argue made history in general. In retrospect the concept reminds me of the episode in Seinfeld where Kramer gets fired from a job he never worked. The difference is I got a recommendation for a job that never existed from one of the world’s top creative leaders.

I hope you all get a laugh out of this and for those out there looking for that next great gig, I hope it helps you to think of possible ways to circumvent the current power paradigms in order to set yourself apart from the flock. I believe this approach can be applied to just about any position or for just about anything that you want to do with your life. This has proven to me that you are what you say you are. If you believe it enough, others will too. Even if it’s just for a good laugh.

Thank you for your time,

Byron King (to view the project site)

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James_Trickery's picture

You sir, are a genius. In the words of Kramer "I'm just trying to get ahead", you found a good way to stick out, even when you're undercover.

Globatron's picture

Thank you James. You are too kind. If it wasn't for Bogusky though this story would just be another lost email in someone's inbox. I definitely I have to thank him for being human enough to answer my emails and playing the game.

Glad you got some joy out of it.


Dabitch's picture

Yeah this is cool. RedDoorBuzz: Social Media Infiltrates Traditional AGency

Agencies looking to develop social media strategies internally are finding that some foundational marketing concepts must change. Of course, a successful social media campaign would first set out to identify groups in which the target demographic is active, yet base the overall strategy not on sites, but on goals. To participate effectively in this space means the abandonment of push messaging in favor of a more dynamic, conversational style. The message would be developed around a core set of questions that the target market would be expected to have curiosity around, and achieve frequency with timely delivery of on-message keyword phrases. Trust and credibility must fostered and developed by engaging the audience with as much transparency as possible. Listening is one of the most critical aspects, both conversationally and analytically, but it’s all too often missed.

Recently, aspiring adman Byron King “infiltrated” social media, in an attempt to gain favor with CP+B, if not a job. King created a persona as an “Interactive Mole” with the stated goal of generating the type of buzz that would cause someone within CP+B to reference his work on Twitter. Ironically enough, the inside man that fell for the ruse was none other than Wojtek Szumowski, CP+B’s in-house sociologist, and posts related to King’s travails then dominated the front page of the CP+B beta site. King earned a LinkedIn recommendation from Alex Bogusky himself, but not a job.

Are you listening?