Competitive advertising: for agencies?

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We have all seen campaigns that knock competition – it could either be factual comparison or innuendo. And when it directly names the competing brand, it really stands out. But this is a first for me – an advertising agency taking on a competing agency.

Karsh/Hagan, Denver based agency has ‘taken on’ Crispin Porter + Bogusky in a campaign. The background: Crispin gave up a small running shoes & apparel brand called Pearl Izumi, when Nike came knocking at their doors. A case of abandoning a small account in the hope of greater revenues and accolades. In an effort to win Pearl Izumi account, Karsh/Hagan sent these posters to the client.


The ads apparently mimic Crispin’s ‘We are not joggers’ work for Pearl Izumi. While the campaign has won some award locally for guerilla marketing, it hasn’t helped them get the Pearl Izumi business. As an aside, Crispin parted ways with Nike too, after 13 month stint with them.

What do you make of this effort? Is it cheap? Badmouthing? Or simply being cut-throat in a cut-throat world? I admire the agency’s guts for taking the risk. When you are a small competitor it helps to be different. Never mind if they poke fun of a big agency’s attitide. And if the market is not conservative (can’t imagine this being done in Chennai or Kolkata), why not go for the jugular? But not getting the account may mean egg on your face.

Via The Denver Egotist

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  1. Well we do live in a world riddled with cliches -“dog eat dog” “all’s fair in love and war” and the like! But having said that Karsh/Hagan is just taking a free ride on the considerable brand equity of a creative mega shop like Crispin. Crispin’s trophy room is probaly bigger than the Karsh/Hagan head office! Nice try though Krash/Hagan! (please notice the very appropriate typo!)

  2. Just want to add to my early comment. I loved the Crispin press campaign for Pearl Izumi that your post has a link to!

  3. Thanks, George. Yes, this is not Coke-Pepsi like comparison of competitors of almost equal stature. There is an element of ‘mein bhi Madonna’ in this. But I admire the guts. Seems to have not paid off though, since they have not got the Pearl Izumi account as yet.

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