every agency looks the same

It’s true. The interior of every agency looks the same, only with different colored carpet.

ogilvy\'s foosball table

There is a little bit of hyperbole in the statement, sure, but anyone who has visited enough agencies knows that the mix of concrete floors, garishly-colored carpets, funky cubes, foosball tables and ping-pong on the creative floors and exposed beams and factory-like ceilings just sort of blends together to the point that after a while you could be dropped into any number of agencies and not know where you are until you see the color of the carpet in the entryway.

Then you see it is red and know that you are at Ogilvy.

Whereupon you immediately wonder what you are doing there and hightail it out of Dodge as quickly as your little legs will carry you.

Some agencies truly have unique workspaces, and the site Ain’t No Disco makes it easy to see which places are cool, which are desperately trying to be hip and relevant and which are sort of cookie cutter. Not that it really matters for creativity.

In fact, in a lot of ways it stops creativity. Like the concrete floor at Fallon’s old South Sixth Street office…they put a basketball hoop up and people played often, but I sat near there and as long as there was a game on there was no work being done in my cube. Which was awesome, especially on deadline. And like the pool table at the House of Biz, which I sit on the floor directly below and which reverberates with the sound of balls skipped off the table by the awful players at my agency. Another thing that does not help with my concentration.

But in a lot of ways it’s better than a typical cube farm.

And even if ad agency interiors are unoriginal when compared to other ad agency interiors, they do beat just about any other industry and that helps when you want to show off to a friend.

So it’s sort of a wash. As long as you don’t sit next to the basketball hoop.


5 responses to “every agency looks the same

  1. Having visited most major agencies in the US, I find the more open offices seem more appealing. Maybe it is that so much of the building exposed and work environments open makes me feel like I am inside Willy Wonka’s ad factory catching glimpses of the Oompa Loompas doing their magic.

    Here are some of my favs that are different enough to leave an impression:

    TBWA/Chiat-Day (Los Angeles) — it’s shaped like surfboard, has a surfboard conference table, token basketball court and always has something new that catches my eye each time I walk from reception (usually my mouth is open).

    Crispin Porter + Bogusky (Boulder) — super non-descript from the outside, but nicely set up with a great use of exterior/outside materials inside.

    Deutsch (New York) — this is the only agency that should have scooters because it runs a whole city block.

    There are more, but those come to mind immediately. Oh and if your agency isn’t listed, it’s because it sucks. Just kidding. Only your office sucks.

  2. dearjanesample

    what a surprise, we have a pool table too! I use that and the fact that we have booze at the office as a way to show off.

  3. @traveler – I *HATE* the open floor plan thing. Completely counterproductive. People leave the office to do actual work or hide in conference rooms where you can’t find them. It’s possible to read/reply to email at an open space desk. That’s about it.
    Everyone else is sitting there with headphones on, ignoring each other, leading to greater degree of isolation than with offices & cubes

  4. I have to agree with Toad. The open office may look cool, but it’s far from it. As someone (us) that has to work in these places, it drives me nuts. That usually means leaving the godforsaken place to grab a “coffee.” There’s nowhere cool to go except the one room that kinda looks like Urban Outfitters, but is filled with media people having meetings.

    And don’t get me started on the furniture. NONE of the brightly-colored, ultra-chic sofas are semi-comfortable… especially for those of us that are trying to had that burrito we ate at lunch.

  5. “every agency looks the same” goes way beyond the interior design.

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