Would You Try a Treadmill Desk Like BBDO New York CEO John Osborn?

Also Making an Appearance at the RNC, They're the Office Accessory of the Moment

By Published on .

John Osborn at his treadmill desk.
John Osborn at his treadmill desk.

Senior agency execs spend most workdays on airplanes, at clients' offices or in restaurants having meetings. But when they're back at HQ, they seem prone to devising ways to ameliorate their surroundings. I can't tell you how many times an agency has told me that it's tearing down walls to move to an "open layout," or adding dry-erase paint to the walls.

At BBDO, New York, some senior execs are taking it a step further. It seems like one of those things you'd see in a SkyMall catalog, but the office's CEO, John Osborn, has installed a treadmill desk -- as evidenced by pictures he posted on Facebook of himself working at one today.

These treadmill desks are clearly the office accessory of the moment. Delegates down at the Republican National Convention are currently trying them out at a Google kiosk and the Atlantic today pointed out that "sitting is the new dying," with a cheeky list of healthy desk options.

We dropped Mr. Osborn, who's better known in the biz as "Ozzy," a note to see why he made the change to working out while working. Here's what he said:

I got the treadmill because I heard it's super healthy and can make you burn calories and add years to your life. The article from the India Times popped up on my Google News page, and I took it to heart. See? PR and advertising works!

Since I have gotten the treadmill, I have gained 4 pounds.

I have no further comment on the desk until I actually lose a few!

Also -- it is super hard to walk fast and type.


The article he's referring to was based on a study by Louisiana University scientists who claim that people who sit for a maximum of three hours a day typically live two additional years. And beware, advertisers -- the study also suggests you might be literally killing consumers. The researchers also claimed that watching TV has a similar effect, calculating that 27% of all deaths in America are partly caused by adults spending too much time sitting down.

For those of you in adland who'd consider getting a treadmill desk, it'll come at a steep price tag. A model similar to Mr. Osborn's is currently retailing on Amazon for nearly $1,300 and note: he paid for it, not the agency. Oh, and you can also expect others in the office to have fun at your expense. To help motivate Mr. Osborn, BBDO's global CEO, Andrew Robertson (who for years now has been espousing the benefits of a standing desk he has in his office) hung a donut in front of the treadmill desk.

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