Crispin Porter + Bogusky's culture, experience and energy distinguished the agency in Infiniti's just-completed global creative review, which culminated with the hiring of Crispin as the brand's new lead global agency.
In particular, Infiniti vp of global marketing Vincent Gillet marveled at the "maker culture" at Crispin's largest office in Boulder, Colo., where CEO Andrew Keller and other global leaders sit. Gillet also cited the shop's experience with challenger brands, including the American Express OPEN Card and the Mini Cooper.
Finally, members of the agency pitch team were "absolutely, utterly dedicated" and "went the extra mile" in the pitch, Gillet said. Clearly, that energy was key to winning the hearts and minds of Infiniti's marketing team around the world, which Gillet described as an eclectic mix of 30 executives with experience beyond the automotive sector who have worked at both marketing firms and ad agencies.
Now, the fun begins. Crispin will open a full-service office in Shanghai and an office for account management and planning staffers in Hong Kong, where Infiniti is based. At the same time, the shop will start developing its first major effort—a campaign around the Infiniti Q30 that will begin next summer in Europe and then spread to the U.S., according to Gillet.
The MDC Partners shop will run the account—with an estimated $30 million in revenue, making it among its biggest ever—out of Boulder. That's a challenge in itself since Boulder is 14 hours behind Hong Kong, and 19 hours away by plane. Still, in the honeymoon phase at least, the automaker and agency don't seem particularly worried about all that space and time.
Rather, Gillet is thinking long-term about a relationship that has just begun. "We didn't buy a campaign. This is a long-term assignment, let's hope," he said.
Brand-wise, the challenge is to give Infiniti a distinct voice in a noisy luxury marketplace that includes market leaders BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. "The great thing is there is nothing negative about Infiniti. People feel positive," Gillet said. "In our case, it's just, 'Tell me who you are.'"
And now, after a long and winding search, Infiniti and Crispin have a chance to do just that.