upwardly mobile?

bankside_23Since I emigrated a few things seem to have changed in the London ad scene. One of them appears to be a massive movement of some of London’s biggest agencies. DLKW Lowe has moved from South Kensington to Old Street, Publicis has bought a huge building in FarringdonOgilvy is about to move to the South Bank, and already over there are both TBWA and AMV BBDO.

So, what’s it all about, Alfie?

I assume the driving reason is financial, because that’s the driving reason behind the vast majority of corporate decisions these days. Thousands of square feet in the West End/Marylebone/South Ken etc. will always cost more than the equivalent further out of town, so if your lease comes up, the cheaper option is likely to be a move. Odd that so many are happening at the same time, though, and from different holding companies.

Anyway, as I work in a pleasant office in Marina Del Rey, some 5500 miles away, I have little firsthand knowledge of all this, but I did experience a similar situation when my agency moved from the West End to Spitalfields in 2007. I was initially not keen, partly because I  had never been there, despite living in london for 34 years, but when we made the move I loved it. It turned out that we were a stone’s throw from W&K/Mother in a vibrant and creative part of town. Yes, there was also a nearby cunt soup of besuited cityboys, who I assume were at that very time fucking the entire planet up the arse for shits, giggles and cash, but if you kept to the right side of Commercial St you barely saw them. So despite being much further from advertising’s traditional home, and my own home, I’m glad we moved.

But what of the rest of you? How are the TBWA-ers, AMV-ites and Lowe-ingtons feeling about their new environment? I’d assume that the new location is one thing, but what about the office spaces? Better? Worse? More or less conducive to producing great ads?* (Interestingly, I see that A&E DDB is staying put. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?) Is being close to Tate Modern a reasonable trade-off for being so far from Selfridges? Are the South Londoners happy while the North Londoners are miserable?

Let me know in the comments section, which might be tempered slightly because I’m an Omnicom/TBWA employee.



*Obviously I don’t mean ‘great’ ads as in properly great, like Guinness Surfer and all that. No one in London is doing that, and nor have they since Cadbury’s Gorilla. But more like the new definition of ‘great’ – the kind of stuff that would have won BTAA Silvers ten years ago.