Karsh\Hagan's Wicked Agency Warfare

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Check out this sly campaign developed by Karsh\Hagan to try and grab up the Pearl Izumi account when, we suppose, CP+B let go of the Boulder-based shoe brand they’d been working on in exchange for Nike. (See Crispin’s work here as a reminder.) Apparently, the posters were mailed to the client’s offices and the site backed up the messaging.

We love when shops do this kind of thing and we’d love to see more of it out there. It shows hunger, confidence and cut-throat competitiveness. The effort won Bronze at the ADCD show in the Guerrilla / Non-traditional Media / Campaign category. How’s it hit you?


Interesting campaign, but I’m not sure I’d want to remind anyone that “We are not Crispin.” It’s not exactly a motivational message, given Crispin’s cultural currency.


Nice job guys. Good luck.

good stuff.

I liked it the first time when it read, “Avis – we try harder.”

I’m with the Egotist: I like me some balls.

Wait, that didn’t come out right.

I disagree with David Burn. Given Crispin’s fickleness, self-professed mercenary attitudes and recent stumbles (Miller Lite, Ask.com. Nike — fairly or not, even the Microsoft campaign is widely derided as a flop), it might not hurt to let prospective clients know that you are not just a flash in the pan.

if you are a client who would like to form a long term relationship instead of a wham, bam, thank you ma’am, then i think this is spot on. the web site doesn’t load for me though, just get an empty white page, anyone else?

Clients are people too, people with egos, exp. accounts and so on. As a client, you want to make a splash. Hiring Crispin is the sort of splash you want to make.

Commander Zoloft’s examples of where CP+B went wrong may or may not be well known outside agency circles. My guess is not.

I admire the guts it took to do this – but it would hit me better if it worked. Anyone know how Pearl Izumi reacted to this (outside of not giving them the business)?

Here’s a question:
This campaign ultimately was a failure. Karsh didn’t get the business, and they won an award for it. Huh? SO, would you feel the same way if these ads were for an actual paying client, and that client ultimately had to layoff employees b/c their ads didn’t generate sales and revenue for the company?

I’m split on this one. I love it when shops show attitude and have “balls” but it seems a little like the Presidential campaign right now. Vote for me, the other guys sucks. And I don’t think it would take Crispin too long to put out some ads with stats that crap all over Karsh & Hagan. Remember the old Avis/Hertz war?

Never mind ;)

so they didn’t land PI. no worries, they’re making headlines and getting noticed. one could argue that constitutes success.

what’s more, it’s good to see a denver agency aggressively pursue a national account. why the hell should denver shops cower in cpb’s shadow?

“Commander Zoloft’s examples of where CP+B went wrong may or may not be well known outside agency circles. My guess is not.”

I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Miller Lite and Orville Redenbacher received considerable coverage. And even though it’s still too early to say whether the Microsoft campaign will ultimately be successful or not, the widespread perception is that the Jerry Seinfeld/Bill Gates commercials were yanked off the air because they were an abysmal failure. And not just in trade publications, but in the pages of the mainstream press such as “Newsweek.”

While they still do good work, Crispin’s aura of invincibility has been tarnished. That’s something that any competent marketing manager would discover after performing even the minimal amount of due diligence.

All of which Karsh/Hagen smart to position themselves as a less flashy, more reliable alternative to Crispin. Such an approach won’t appeal to all clients, but it may connect with those who want an agency who won’t toss them aside when a better opportunity comes along.

Gotta give them credit for taking a shot; but I think it’s always hard to get completely behind something when it even hints at this kind of cattiness (nice call, Paul Suggett).

Shouldn’t we be looking at the quality of the design and copy, though? Those are both pretty decent and edgy in the right ways.

pretty lame if you ask me. I’m sure no one will ever mix up the 2 agencies, or one agency and one little shop. just an example of an annoying little fly trying to get some attention of the big boys. try harder

Didnt Pearl Izumi go with Goodness MFG, essentially still Crispin, just people that left? I guess CPB still wins there too.

“Shouldn’t we be looking at the quality of the design and copy, though? Those are both pretty decent and edgy in the right ways.”

pretty crappy if you ask me

It would have been more impressive if the design and typography was as nicely done as the original campaign. The way it was reproduced here looks amateur, and doesn’t help amplify the concept. Take the site comps, for example, which are trying to match what “texuremedia” did, and not CPB (btw). The callouts, buttons, and typography all feel a little clunky and not polished…

I’m Karsh/Hagan and I’m a PC.

I give them props for taking a chance.

I think the type isn’t the best, and the letter spacing & line spacing could be better… but the idea behind them is good – especially the first ad shown.

Crispin could use almost the same line in fact: “WE ARE NOT KARSH & HAGAN” and then say why. Something tells me they have bigger fish to fry though. How many times have they won agency of the year?

yeah, screw it. really, what kind of agency would want crispin’s sloppy seconds anyway? shit, most brands probably just give up advertising all together after getting dumped by such a great fuck, i mean shop, i mean agency.

lesson here is don’t challenge CPB – every sycophant looking for a gig there will crucify you.

Seeing how the Crispin campaign was such a dog:
I can see why they quit the client; I would have too, in shame.
It deserves to be mocked.
Their campaign was a little bit catty…

There are simply too many design firms.

lame. the link on the bottom doesn’t even work

maybe when karsh/hagan gets even close to competing on crispins level, they should consider doing this. until then, i think its bold -give em credit for that, but not the best move.

The link may not work… but I love it!!!

Karsh/Hagan = OOOOOH SNAP!

If you rip off someone else’s campaign, the rule is, you have to do it better, not worse.

All’s fair in love and war, but who the fuck set that type? Sweet Jesus.

If you’re to rip you must do it better. Must. And texture executed the design/concepts, then later did enhancements to the site.

“Anyone can write a few breakthrough ads. Creating breakthrough brands requires a different level of commitment.”

1.) Sorry-Not anyone can write a few breakthrough ads. It’s harder than that

2.) Truth. Shimano. IKEA. Mini. Virgin. Molson. BK. VW.

Just a few of the CPB breakthrough brands.

K/H’s list?

PS: your typography blows overall. And the bad mid 90’s photoshop distressed type, well – I liked it the first time I saw it in your ad-school grad portfolio.

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