Still pondering Alex Bogusky's decision to write a diet book with the support of his partner-in-crime, Chuck Porter. And despite musings about its raison d'etre, from reading yesterday's Ad Age, it seems unlikely that the book is part of some viral marketing stunt for Domino's so intricate it is beyond the understanding of mere advertising mortals. As the magazine points out, the book was listed among its publisher's titles before Bogusky's agency, Crispin, Porter + Bogusky won the Domino's account. Here's part of its description on Amazon: "With years of experience manipulating the masses, two of the best tricksters in the industry explain how you as a consumer are being duped, and how you are actually a part of the conspiracy to make you fat. But more importantly, they teach you how to break the cycle." One would think that might include not stopping so often at Burger King and Domino's, though the book's title, "The 9 Inch 'Diet'" focuses mostly on using a smaller plate to make you feel as though you are consuming more food than you actually are. Maybe Bogusky has won a 9-inch plate client?
Still, take a look at that book description: "How you as a consumer are being duped"? If that doesn't scream to Domino's and Burger King that (at least) a stern talking to is in order with Mr. Bogusky, I don't know what does. However, the perverse genius of the situation is that all fast food organizations these days have to give, pun intended, lip service to healthier eating. They can't openly protest the book's premise that perhaps we are eating too much and that corporate America has much to do with it.
The situation reminds me of a client conflict situation that ended badly for Saatchi & Saatchi back in the day, weeks after I had left the agency in the late 1980s. Saatchi had prepared a commercial for Northwest Airlines showing passengers cheering the fact that Northwest had decided to ban smoking on all domestic flights. RJR Nabisco, another Saatchi client for which the agency actually didn't handle any tobacco brands, got so pissed off it pulled $100 million in business from Saatchi, a move that, at the time, made the front page of The New York Times. No one came out in support of RJR, but I imagine what mattered most to Saatchi was keeping the account. Even if Bogusky has an excellent point to make with this book, if Domino's or Burger King mysteriously leave Crispin, you probably wouldn't go wrong to blame it on the book.