Months after leaving behind the 20-year ad career that made him famous, Alex Bogusky is officially starting a new one as a consumer advocate.
As announced via Twitter and a new website yesterday, he's going from the self-created post of "chief insurgent officer" at ad holding company MDC Partners to being the lead "insurgent in the new consumer revolution."
Just what does that mean? Mr. Bogusky -- in a way not so unlike how Ralph Nader began rallying against unsafe cars 50 years ago -- wants to be the one to lead a new civic consumerism. While there have been plenty of hints of Mr. Bogusky's growing activist leanings -- in blog posts and books such as "The 9-Inch Diet" -- the website he unveiled yesterday was a clear sign he hopes to turn that activism into a business platform, and perhaps a legal-reform platform.
Said the site:
"The fact is we all consume to live. The food we put in our bodies, the clothes we put on our backs, the devices we use to do our jobs, and the energy that goes into everything we touch. Together we consume A LOT. Yet our expectations are too low. We think we have to accept the bad that comes with the good. The pollution that comes with the energy. The unsafe working conditions that come with low prices. The toxic materials that come with convenient packaging.In a manifesto announcing the new venture, Mr. Bogusky even alluded to the Nader comparison: "What does this make me? I think I'll be a consumer advocate for a while. Alex Nader or Ralph Bogusky? I'm not sure a former advertising executive is allowed to become a consumer advocate, but I plan to give it a shot. This is still America after all."
The revenue model for Fearless appears to be a multi-pronged approach of speaking engagements, consulting, freelance design projects and e-commerce -- selling American Apparel tees and books Mr. Bogusky has penned through the site. Calls to Mr. Bogusky's office at the Fearless cottage in Boulder, Colo., were not returned.
He's not doing it alone. He's brought on a few contributors to a blog and is assembling a "FearLess Force" of artists, filmmakers, graphic designers, web developers, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, researchers and planners to work on what, for now anyway, appears to be pro bono efforts. One of the first projects is a crowdsourced effort to rewrite and modernize the Consumer Bill of Rights John F. Kennedy established in the early 1960s.
By all accounts, Mr. Bogusky had a highly successful, much-envied, ad career. What are your predictions for this career move? Is it hypocritical for him to go from making millions while at Crispin, helping sell fast food to consumers, to now rallying against unhealthy foods or toxic products? Or is such an adjustment in thinking an evolution to be admired?
Tell us what you think in the comments.