Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s crowdsourcing experiment backfires

Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s always rattling the ad-industry’s cage–whether through disturbing ads for Burger King, or roundly lambasted ads for Microsoft. But recently, they just lost the Volkswagen account–one of their marquees–while Burger King franchisees are blaming Crispin for flagging sales. And their latest experiment may have overstepped the line with designers, who usually pay them a grudging respect.

To create a logo for the electric motorcycle start-up Brammo, they’re crowdsourcing the design, for a reward of $1000. The winner will be announced in six days, and over 700 people have submitted work. But no matter: To many professional designers, so-called “spec” assignments–that is, exploratory work, done for free–is taboo. Many designers think it undercuts them, and denigrates the profession. was among the aggrieved, and they’ve started a Twitter campaign (#nospec) against Crispin.

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