Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Hand me that throw pillow

I love Wieden & Kennedy.

I have always admired their work, their unwillingness to talk down to consumers and their unconventional approach to the business; including one of their offices which recently mandated office closure at 7 PM, so that employees can have some semblance of a life.

I've never worked at Wieden. Never freelanced there. And though I have inquired on many occasion, never received a return phone call or even an email. Truth is, I wouldn't want to work for Wieden because I still find them so damn intimidating.

But last week, they dropped a small notch in my book.

You see there was an article in Adweek written by one of their talent recruiters. Of course when I say article I mean press release, because this had all the earmarks of self promotion, an arena in which I have some experience.

In the piece, the author goes to great lengths to describe how management has fashioned an environment conducive to employee creativity.

"We moved this over here."

"We put that in this place."

"We brought in colors and shapes and textures and (fill in your own architectural gobblygook here) to foster inspiration."

If I hadn't heard so much of this interior design malarkey while I was at Chiat/Day, I might be more open and tolerant of it, but I'm sorry, I'm not.

It was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

If you think about it, it reeks of infantilization. Of treating creative people like we're kindergarteners. I know my 44 year old cynicism is showing, but I'm not creatively or professionally moved by leather love seats, stand up treadmill desks or artisnally-curated corked floors.

Advertising legend Dick Sittig said it best when reflecting on the rollercoaster fortunes of Chiat/Day,

"I remember when they wrote less about our furniture and more about the ads we made."

Nobody seems to be talking about the ads anymore.

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