Best Places to Work 2012

Allen & Gerritsen Tops Ad Age's Best Places to Work List

Midsize Agency With a Focus on Nurturing the Next Generation Is Our Winner for Second Year in a Row

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What's better than topping Ad Age 's Best Places to Work list? Easy: topping it two years in a row.

The team at Allen & Gerritsen has again demonstrated it's one of the best agency gigs in adland. Since Ad Age last profiled this midsize independent shop, it's been gearing up for a move from its Watertown, Mass., space (which Ad Age visited in an episode of Agency Digs -- see it at to Boston's emerging Innovation District near the seaport.

Andrew Graff, A&G's president-CEO, said meetings with architects produced strong reactions. "We got comments ranging from, "It reminds me of an insane asylum,' to, "That's the kind of place where I want to work,'" Mr. Graff said.

Mr. Graff said that after the staff has settled into its new digs, the agency -- which recently picked up Papa Gino's New England Pizza and the Los Angeles Zoo as clients -- is set hire 30 to 50 employees in the coming year. That will mean more welcome packages (agency T-shirts, chocolates and maybe some aspirin) for new team members, and more handwritten birthday cards from Mr. Graff, who sends one to every employee.

Part of Mr. Graff's approach to courting and keeping a happy staff has been cultivating the internship program. It recently started a competition called Tech Apprentice, modeled after "Celebrity Apprentice," in which hopefuls vie for a spot on Intern Row by demonstrating the most creative use of social media and mobile technology.

Mr. Graff said understanding and managing young tech natives, as well as making the agency interesting to them, is crucial to being part of advertising's advertising. Interns appreciate that .

"Interns aren't [relegated to] filing cabinets and coffee pots but rather are treated as real employees," one intern wrote in the survey. "The intern program ... really caters to enriching us with opportunities and realistic experiences."

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