AdCritic: Why Boulder?
Alex Bogusky: I think because it's very different from Miami, and we wanted to give our people a choice, an option. In some ways it's completely opposite from Miami, and that's good. Also, the Boulder/Denver area didn't have an agency where we thought we would be stealing their home turf. That's why we didn't choose Austin, because GSD&M is there. We were just looking for options for people, places that were a different kind of town with a different lifestyle that's more affordable.
The genesis of the idea was with this last hurricane. When these things hit—I've gone through Andrew, and that was bad—when they're a category four or five, you've got to get the hell out of town. And you know they're coming. So with this last one, my wife and I started looking for places to go. New York was all sold out, so we were looking out west, and went to Boulder. I had always wanted to go there. She ended up there for two weeks because Miami was slammed. She did Halloween out there with the kids and I just started thinking it would be cool if we could make that an option for people. I had always seen myself at some point out west, and I feel like I'm nowhere near retiring. It seemed possible that we could pull it off. I brought the idea back to Miami, and we hatched a plan, so we're starting to execute it.
AC: Is the plan to keep Miami as a hub, or to have Boulder as it's own autonomous unit?
AB: It's not supposed to be autonomous at all. The notion is that it's one agency.
The other thing the hurricane taught us, which we kind of knew anyway, was how virtual we are. There was nobody here, there were 40 people in New York, 40 people in L.A., and 30 people in a hotel in north Miami, and we got more work out than ever. So our ability to do work together is not determined solely on location. The idea was to offer up this notion, and people seem to like it, and we'll see where it will take us.
AC: How many people are going to Boulder?
AB: We'll start with about 40 to 50 people.
AC: Will you join them?
AB: Yes, this summer. I'll split my time in Miami, but my kids will go to school in Boulder. One of the considerations is that for all the time we spend in L.A. on production it would be nice to be closer. That winds up being a 2 and a half hour flight. And New York is about a half hour further, but it's not too bad.
AC: What about the creative directors?
AB: I've got lots of creative directors who will be staying here and lots that will be going to Boulder. We aren't ready to announce that yet. The creative department will be split about 50/50.
AC: It seems like a quick decision, from going out there two months ago to securing office space and announcing it publicly.
AC: The industry responded by passing along a lot of rumors. There were some rumors that the agency was leaving Miami.
AB: There were also rumors that I'm retiring. We're not leaving Miami. Miami will never close. And the last thing I want to do is retire. I really love what I do. Just the thought of it makes me sad.