Creative Sparks

How Alex Bogusky helped this creative count the calories in Ads

The Gate London creative Bryn Walters talks about the legacy of the Crispin Porter + Bogusky co-founder on his career

By Avnie Bansal

A Watford graduate, Bryn Walters, has been part of various shops, including Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Who Wot Why, and Mother, as well as brand experience agency Amplify in the seven years he has been in the industry.

After selling advertisements in a magazine and energy certificates to builders, he stumbled into advertising by Googling, ‘the best job in the world’. Having been at The Gate since April this year, Bryn, alongside partner Max Gill-Engel, works on an array of briefs and clients from TV to broadcast, built environments to branding.

He worked on the Nike “SNKRS Day live” campaign, which was an eight-hour digital and physical celebration spanning London, Paris, and Berlin. SNKRS Day 2022 had four live streams, 12 films, five product drops, three sold-out events plus engagement with the brand’s valued “micro communities”. One of the dream clients for any creative, Bryn says, "It [working with Nike] was an amazing learning curve - hard - but amazing."

Bryn is such a great human being, and that naturally makes him an outstanding creative. He is full of curiosity and enthusiasm for everything around him. And he translates that into work that always finds a new, interesting take on things. Combine that with his relentlessly positive attitude, and just imagine the possibilities.

Lucas Peon, Chief Creative Officer, The Gate London

We ask Bryn what or who keeps him inspired to deliver emotive, populist work.

Bryn Walters: A lot of people claim there are no rules in advertising. Well, I’d be inclined to nip that in the bud straight away.

Already in this industry, I’ve come to realise that there are in fact two rules to advertising, and it boils down to calories – or to put that in more specific terms– human energy. Human: does your ad have a modicum of truth to it, a human foible it notices, a real-life problem that it overcomes, or something of that ilk?

Energy: what makes it exciting, different, weird; is it expertly crafted; is it something people want to share; is it just so bat shit crazy you can’t help but take notice?

Take Burger King’s work from the early 2000s, "Have It Your Way". In the backdrop of fast-food chains offering their menu, Burger King offered more flexibility than other brands. If you went to BK, you had more choices. Fine, a nice human offering. But how do you bring that thought to life?

Well, Burger King had a new chicken burger that needed promoting. So how about jumping on the advent of a more advanced internet to allow people to take control of a man in a chicken suit, getting him to dance, getting him to hop on one leg, getting him to do push-ups, getting people to “have it their way”, getting people to share that website millions of times?

What about if you’re a global FMCG brand, and you need to launch a new, zero-calorie, zero-sugar version of your popular fizzy drink? You’re not sure people will take to it, what if it tastes funny? Well, imagine if this fizzy soft drink was so close to the original, that the company sued itself, playing the court case out through expertly crafted emails, banners, and on microsites, again, utilising new and exciting media spaces available at the time. Pretty calorific if you ask me.

“But Bryn!”, you cry at your laptop or mobile device, “what does any of this have to do with your creative hero?”.

“Well,“ I answer, “none of these campaigns would’ve been possible without a certain genius at the helm of the agency that made them. A certain Alex Bogusky of Crispin Porter + Bogusky fame.”

You may be aware that Bogusky has since taken his millions and sensibly changed course to become an angel investor. But his legacy remains on the internet and in books and awards books.

For what must amount to weeks of my life, I have pored over his One Show nominations that contain ground-breaking, share-button-smashing work for Mini, Ikea, Miller Lite, Virgin Atlantic, Volkswagen and more. I have paid vast sums of money to get hold of Hoopla, the madcap book produced by his agency that is no longer in print. I have worked for his agency. Oh, and I have tried to distill his methods into a formula that can be replicated.

Granted, I may not have reached the heady heights of the man himself, yet, but through his work, he has showed me what is possible in advertising.

So next time you get a brief on your desk, you might be inclined to think of calories. I do.

Bryn Walters is a creative at The Gate London


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