Wednesday, 24 June 2015

open minded abuse

I’ve always hated open plan offices, let’s face it, everyone does. We hate the noise, the general state of chaos and the feeling of being constantly overlooked by our bosses more blatantly than usual.
Our Australian cousins recently finished a lengthy and presumably expensive bit of research into life in an open plan office. The results were, in the words of researcher Dr. Vinesh Oommen from the Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, “absolutely shocking.”
90% of our antipodean brethren it seems suffered lower productivity and higher stress levels when dragged into bull-pen offices.
The pit-falls of open offices can quickly lead to a hell on earth as shown in weekly bursts on the original UK show The Office, (, it can lead to hundreds of petty conflicts from who stole the selotape to the tit for tat of practical jokes. It’s just not conducive to a creative environment.
Or is it? SCPF in Spain have long been hailed internationally as a major hub of Adland excellence, yet their creatives sit in what can only be described as a barn chewing the cud of joint ideas. (Check out their site at:

“Mother” in the UK, the incubator of many a world beating idea, famously work from one long table, trading ideas with insults as they go. (

Great ideas, it seems can come from anywhere and we can bend our immediate environment to suit our own needs, after all the reality of any modern office space is that the air is thick with telephones ringing, emails filling inboxes and the smog of office politics, whether you’re hiding in your own space or breathing communal air.
Get up and walk about a bit, stretch your brain, who knows you might come up with a nice simple idea like a one shot commercial. If you’re really lucky it might be as charming and insightful as the classic “Ode to a Batchelor’s pea” (Batchelor’s being the Brand not the owner of said pea). Remind yourself of the power of a single-minded idea at:

One shot commercials are all the rage at the moment, especially since last week’s Cannes Grand Prix winner is being touted as the perfect example. In reality Adam Berg’s beautifully shot Phillip’s Carousel commercial is a single shot ad like Christiano Ronaldo is a footballer, ie it’s expensive and shiny and rather exciting to watch. Hold your breath at:

Another simple idea that’s once again raised its head is the “only pay for what you want” ad agency. It’s hardly a new idea and previously it has fallen on rather hard ground as clients used it for freebie scavenging. The latest incarnation can be found at
This time they claim they have thought it out properly, here’s how they say it works: The would-be client submits a work request form. The agency perform the duties they require within the time that they specify. When the assignment is done, the client decides what it’s worth and pay that amount,(the only mandatory’s would be any costs for travel, proprietary research tools, and/or production, each agreed in advance).
They say that so far no one has suggested not paying for services rendered but I reckon it’s only a matter of time before it happens.
I, for one, think it’s a downright cheek that these little people should be affronting corporate Adland like this, I mean, what if it takes off?

To those people who are really worried about the proximity of their colleagues and the inability to hide their personal foibles within an open plan environment I suggest they look to Germany for support. In Frankfurt am Main there is an ad agency which has won bags of awards for its architectural innovation and inspired working areas. The floors, walls and ceilings are all glass, as are everything from the vertigo inducing lifts to the Escher-like disappearing staircases. It’s no place for the faint-hearted, or the secretive for that matter. A whole new level of adland transparency maybe?

I mentioned the possibility of transferring there to my art director but she just turned up the new Metric CD on her PowerBook and shook her dirty blonde hair in aggressive denial.
Personally I think this new open plan office I’ve been recently transplanted to is rather growing on me. At least now I can see trouble when it’s coming my way.

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