Brit Ad Agencies Might Have to Say 'So Long' to Soho

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"The entire restaurant and bar scene of Soho seemed to be catering solely to media and advertising people -- and to those who wanted to bathe in their Champagne-tinted glory. ... This was mainly because all the cutting rooms and photography studios were in Soho -- the area's traditional status as a red-light district, still tawdry around the edges, meant that minimal rent was charged for maximal spaces. Soho effectively became London's Madison Avenue."

That's ad journalist Mark Tungate in his indispensable book "Adland" describing the London ad scene back in the 1980s. My, how things have changed. BrandRepublic has a piece up about a new real-estate study predicting that the influx of financial shops pouring into Soho mean higher rents for the ad agencies and, possibly, a diaspora for that cluster of businesses.

Said George Roberts, of the real-estate specialist Jones Lang LaSalle: "Location change for advertising agencies could certainly be viewed as an opportunity to manage property costs and one that is widely cited within the property industry. The top agencies in London cluster around the core of Soho and Noho [the area north of Oxford Street]. They may well be driven by cost into other West End locations such as Paddington, Kings Cross, Victoria, Hammersmith and Southwark."

Creativity, of course, is only so connected to place, but one thing that's lamentable about New York's ad scene is that there is no center of gravity for the agency world. When you consider how few agencies remain there, not even Madison Avenue is Madison Avenue anymore.
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