Allen & Gerritsen: Fiercely Independent

“We are smart, curious and creative. We never settle. We question the status quo. We play in each other’s sandboxes. We deliver big, innovative, disruptive ideas by blending marketing, advertising, and content development approaches. And we are committed to delivering results.”

Voted “Best Place to Work” by AdAge Magazine, Allen and Gerritsen is really a visionary to the advertising and marketing world. With motto “fiercely independent”, they are one of the only advertising agencies that stand alone, free of a higher corporate hold. Currently located in Watertown, MA at the Arsenal on the Charles with 120 employees, the firm will be moving to the ‘Seaport District’ in September of 2012, where they plan to add 50 more employees. Their client roster includes brands such as the Boston Celtics, Hannaford Supermarkets, and the chain of Ninety Nine Restaurants.

Allen & Gerritsen really prides itself on its culture and employees. CEO Andrew Graff said in a statement, “Creativity, technology, and curiosity are at the heart of Allen & Gerritsen’s core.” Emphasizing in actuality what is at the heart of each and every employee at the firm, A&G strives to provide a workplace that fosters innovation and growth everyday, a place where communication is always open and no door is ever kept closed.

Having visited A&G a couple of weeks back, I got the amazing opportunity to speak to managers, interns, and even Andrew Graff himself. To say I was welcomed with open arms is barely covering the borders of my experience there. Every single person I spoke to was not only friendly but so extremely intrigued to tell me about their daily day and how their experience working at A&G has been. People would just start dropping into the room one by one to say hello, and never did it seem a burden on them to stop by for a quick chat.

As for a little of the culture, employees were dressed in jeans and t-shirts; it was extremely laid back. An interesting aspect of the place is the workplace design. To name a few, there are a golf course, a kitchen with a tiki bar, and a garbage can full of awards and trophies. The “Ideas Not Words and Pictures” mural above the garbage full of awards is an illustration that the company does what they do because they want to learn, to invigorate, not because they want to collect as many trophies as they possibly can. Another cool thing about A&G? When hired, every employee must give three facts about themselves, which are then put onto their nameplate, just to add a unique twist to the organizational culture. For example, Andrew Graff’s nameplate says, “Andrew Graff: President & CEO & extreme stationary cyclist & vineyard vacationer & up before the sun” and co-founder Paul Allen’s says, “Paul Allen: Chairman & ski racing dad & dog whisperer & aspiring circumnavigator.”

A&G just breathes creativity in any and all things that happen there. As their website says, “Culture, environment and exposure to all things creative have everything to do with a person’s ability to think and create brilliant work.” A well-rounded company value wise, goal wise, expertise wise and vision wise, I would argue Allen & Gerritsen deserved the No.1 place to work title they won in August 2011.

AdAge Episode: Around A&G


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