Laura Bowles

Crispin Porter & Bogusky

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One of the unsung figures behind Volkswagen's upheaval of its brand is Laura Bowles.
Laura Bowles, VP-group account director, Crispin Porter & Bogusky

While Crispin Porter & Bogusky's controversial spots for the GTI (starring that weird character called Fast) and the Jetta (think of those jarring crash scenes) get all the attention, the 35-year-old VP-group account director is the one responsible for selling through ideas that are a major departure for a big old brand.

"She's sees herself as a creative problem-solver," says Jeff Steinhour, partner-director of account management at the Miami shop. "She's taken the time to understand creative, and she's very good at helping clients understand why going with unsettling ideas is a good path to take."

Ms. Bowles says a big part of account management, especially at Crispin, is understanding how to get those unsettling ideas around the legal, logistical and often psychological potholes that can stop them. "So much of what we have to do is clearing the runway so that great ideas can live," she says.

The Arizona native joined Crispin in 1997. Her initial days there were spent on Longhorn Steakhouse and Shimano, but she would eventually come to work on high-profile Ikea and BMW Mini. On BMW, she would meet current VW marketing strategist Kerri Martin.

"Laura is ... able to drill down to the core issues," says Ms. Martin, director-brand innovation at Volkswagen of America.

Not long after joining VW, Ms. Martin brought Crispin from Mini to VW, and Ms. Bowles landed on the account. But Ms. Bowles' contribution to Crispin has come in more than just its car accounts. She has thrived, contributing in big pitches and other major initiatives.

"She's always part of big all-hands-on-deck situations," says Mr. Steinhour, who recruited Ms. Bowles nine years ago. "She's worked herself to death for us. Good things happen when Laura gets involved."
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