Keeping Crispin Crispin

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Now that Crispin Porter & Bogusky has snagged its brass-ring client, the question is whether Burger King will kill its culture or make the agency stronger.

Already in the big leagues creatively, Crispin Porter has lacked the oomph of a mega client. The news, first reported on, that it would handle the chain's $335 million creative and media planning account, lands the shop in a different league, fraught with as many potential pitfalls as benefits.

Crispin Porter last year billed $255 million-less than Burger King spends on measured media. The agency denies the boon will significantly change culture or structure or even staff levels, but consultants wonder whether it is deluding itself in terms of the demands of a client that could boost revenue, staff and associated numbers by some 70%.

Agency Executive Creative Director and Partner Alex Bogusky said he may hire a handful of people but that Crispin Porter promotes from within and most BK work would come from the bench. Consultants warned that could lead to staff shifts on existing business, disgruntled clients and rivals circling Crispin Porter's smaller accounts. But Mr. Bogusky said the primary changes at the hotshop would be designed to ensure that "nothing changes."

The agency, in which MDC Partners has a 49% stake, has been judicious in managing past growth. It declined at least one high-profile pitch worth $300 million because it was chock-full with new clients and other prospects.

WPP Group's Young & Rubicam-which made much of the win when it landed the marketer last year-declined to comment on the client it won in April 2003, but industry observers suggest upward of 50 people worked on the account and at least 20 would have to be laid off.

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