By Suzanne Vranica
Alex Bogusky, a onetime star of Madison Avenue, is returning to the advertising industry after a two-year absence, but will restrict his work to companies that manufacture in the U.S.
The 49-year-old creative guru has been named a partner and creative adviser of Made Movement LLC, a five month old agency that works for companies that make their products in the U.S. He will spend half his time at the new job.
Mr. Bogusky spent almost his entire career at MDC Partners Inc's Crispin Porter & Bogusky, where he is credited with some of the most eyebrow raising ads created in recent years for brands such as Burger King, Mini Cooper and Microsoft. He quit the ad business in 2010 and became somewhat anti-advertising, calling for a ban on marketing to children.
Since then, Mr. Bogusky has spent most of his time on pro-environmental programs including developing marketing pitches for Al Gore's "Climate Reality Project." He also co-founded Common, an organization that seeks to spur more entrepreneurial businesses. The group, for example, hosted an event this year that gave some start-ups, which offer socially conscious products, the chance to compete for funding.
In his new role, Mr. Bogusky said he will only participate in advertising ventures that match his values.
"I felt like in my former life I ended up in a place where I couldn't speak out and that was uncomfortable," he added.
At Made, he is joining the "Buy American" trend that has been percolating since the recession. The firm was founded in March by three former Crispin executives, has landed about half dozen clients so far including Bozeman Watch Co., a watch maker based in Montana.
"Red, white and blue is the new green," said Mr. Bogusky, referring to the "green" marketing movement that caused marketers to fill the airwaves and the Web with earth friendly messages.
About half of 24,463 consumers polled in an online survey in 2010 said they try to buy American whenever they can, according to Mintel, a research company based in Chicago. Corporations have been increasingly touting their ties to the U.S. in ad pitches, according to branding experts.
Nowadays, "it is seen less as a play for patriotism and more as a signal of a better product," said Allen Adamson, a managing director of Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC.