Alex Bogusky, a "celebrity" in the advertising industry who became an influential force in Boulder after his agency opened an office here, stepped away from the ad business Thursday.

The man who served more than two decades at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and recently shifted his role to "chief creative insurgent" at the agency's parent company, MDC Holdings, resigned to pursue initiatives outside of advertising and marketing, MDC officials said.

Speaking publicly to only a handful of national publications, Bogusky, 46, said Thursday he "severed all ties" with Crispin Porter + Bogusky and MDC and that his future includes participating in the "cultural revolution."

"The more interesting stuff is coming from the fringes," Bogusky told the New York Times, "and that's where I want to be."

A fair amount of his work, he added, will be not for profit.

Bogusky joined what is now Crispin Porter + Bogusky in 1989. He eventually became a principal of the Miami-based firm responsible for campaigns that most recently have included the anti-tobacco "Truth," Burger King's "The King," Domino's branding and ingredient overhaul, and Microsoft's "I'm a PC."

In 2006, Bogusky moved his family to Boulder as Crispin Porter + Bogusky set up an additional headquarters operation with a few dozen employees.

Four years and a couple of local acquisitions later, Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Boulder work force is 500 people strong.


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As he moved out of the ad realm, Bogusky threw his efforts into other actions such as penning a couple of books, running a blog and filming an online TV show. He set up shop in a century-old house at 645 Walnut St. -- renamed the FearLess Cottage -- a place that serves as a home base for creative efforts and his social causes.

Bogusky also invested money and wisdom in a couple of Boulder firms, including nut-butter maker Justin's and the startup eco-friendly oil change company Green Garage.

Justin Gold, founder of the eponymous Boulder natural foods company, said he meets regularly with Bogusky, who also is assisting Gold in the organization of a sustainable packaging summit.

"Alex has been kind of like a mentor and a thought-leader for our company," Gold said. "He's pushing us to become a better company, in socially and environmentally responsible ways."

Bogusky's exit from MDC could free him up to spend more time in the community devoting time to causes he's passionate about, such as bike-sharing and sustainability initiatives, said Rupal Parekh, lead agency reporter at Advertising Age.

Parekh said Bogusky's departure may not be felt greatly at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, adding that the agency has a comprehensive succession plan in place and Bogusky has not spent much time on client business the past two years.

"Where I think the impact is probably going to be felt is at the parent company level, in its ability to attract talent to MDC," she said. "Young creatives could question why such a prominent ad leader has exited the company, and more broadly, the business overall."

Bogusky is a bit of a "celebrity" in the ad world, she said.

By the same token, Parekh noted, some of the causes about which Bogusky has been vocal -- including not advertising to children -- can be considered as counter to the business of MDC and the advertising business as a whole.

Contact Camera Business Writer Alicia Wallace at 303-473-1332 or wallacea@dailycamera.com.