Small Agency Awards 2012

Small Agency of the Year, Best Culture, Gold: Glass Agency

By Published on .

Office jams courtesy of Glass rock band Fat Ginger.
Office jams courtesy of Glass rock band Fat Ginger.
In a landscape littered with agency bars, foosball tables and other interesting perks, Glass stands out by keeping it simple. The 30-person agency has a strict "no assholes" policy. The Sacramento, Calif., shop is very clear on its website: It just won't hire them.

According to the agency, this policy is what 90% of applicants cite as their reason for applying for a job at Glass. But for the agency, it's more than just a way to attract applicants. It is something that all the employees, from the bottom to the top, live by . Amber Williams, president of Glass, was even interviewed for a soon-to-be published book, "Nice CEOs Finish First."

"We're a family," said Ms. Williams. It's this attitude, and the employees' love of the business, that got the agency through some rough times in recent years.

As the agency tells it, June 6, 2010, should have been Glass's last day in business. It was the day founder Greg Glass died of cancer, the last in a series of major blows the shop received throughout that year. But the management team did all it could to keep the agency afloat. "It wasn't an option to pack it up and go home," said Ms. Williams.

So over the next six months, Glass competed to retain its biggest clients, started a social-media division and by the end of the year exceeded revenue projections by 400%. This year, the agency made national headlines when it took it upon itself to launch a campaign -- called "SacDeflated" -- to keep the Kings basketball team in Sacramento. Now in 2012, the agency is on track to increase revenue 33% from the $3.3 million it made last year.

That's not to say the agency eschews the more standard adland perks. While employees work hard during the week on accounts such as Lucky Supermarkets, Amtrak California and Togo's Sandwiches, they also spend time together playing dodgeball, going to Giants baseball games and drinking beer every Thursday at 4 p.m. during the aptly named Beer Thursday. The agency has even cleared out its basement to have space for several of their employees' bands to play.

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