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Ad Agency Interns Auctioned Off on eBay Will Ride With Brammo

May 28, 2009
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Advertising agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky’s intern auction wrapped Wednesday, May 27, with the winning bid of $17,655 coming from a marketer right up Alex Bogusky’s alley: Ashland, Oregon-based Brammo, a maker of electric motorcycles.

Crispin’s top creative and riding enthusiast launched the auction out of the blue on May 18 via Twitter. Bidding began at $1, and in a matter of nine days, 44 bidders came out of the woodwork hoping to land a package of brand strategy and creative ideas from Crispin’s summer interns.

The bidding really intensified in the final hours; early Wednesday the highest bid was still about $10,000.

Brammo chairman and CEO Craig Bramscher didn’t back get to Advertising Age right away to share why his budding company was eager to entrust a campaign to a group of interns, let alone some found in a deal struck on eBay.

But Brammo—by the looks of its Web site, anyway—appears to embrace the interweb machine more than your average marketer. Its home page features a feed of Brammo blog mentions and Google News mentions, its contact page is a Google Map, and the bios of executive team members are all Diggable.

Like Crispin, which has a bike-sharing venture, Brammo is green-conscious. It purchases energy offsets and encourages employees to bike to work. (For its part, Crispin swears to us the contest wasn’t rigged.)

The outcome of the auction means that once again the agency has broken tradition when it comes to client conflicts. Crispin, which works with two big fast-food chains (Burger King and Domino’s), already has a motorcycle client in Buell Motorcycle Co., a division of Harley-Davidson.

This year’s batch of Crispin interns have got to be stoked: Each of the 38 young talents will take home an extra $465 from the Brammo project to supplement their minimum-wage paychecks from the agency.

Not bad.

UPDATE: While the contest wasn’t rigged, turns out it wasn’t quite as straightforward as it was originally cast, either. From a Crispin spokeswoman, after our story came out: “I have to correct something I told you. I did not realize that Alex [Bogusky] had suggested to a number of our clients and to other companies to bid in support of our interns. Brammo was one.”


Filed by Rupal Parekh of Advertising Age, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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