Make Agency Culture Work for You

Why Environment Matters, Too

By Published on .

Jarrad Woods
Jarrad Woods
As a student finishing up my final year at Miami Ad School, I have been fortunate to experience the eclectic cultures of various agencies. I've had the opportunity to go overseas and intern as far away as Istanbul and come back to the advertising mecca of New York. I've also visited agencies in Miami and San Francisco.

Reflecting on all of these experiences, I've concluded that aside from the type of work an agency produces, it's also important to consider differences in agency culture. There are several types of ad agencies -- big, small, corporate, quirky. What is most important is how well you mesh in the work environment. It's a very important step in defining your advertising career because it will undoubtedly play a role in your development as a creative.

It might seem like an overwhelming task to do the extra homework of researching agency environments to see which one might work best for you. But you can save a lot of time by starting with an agency's website. The website's presentation is usually a great reflection of how an agency sees itself. Some sites, for example, are simple and all about the work. Some don't show their work at all. And others have creative montages that sometimes include photos of the employees themselves. These are distinguishable factors that will narrow down your focus when applying for opportunities.

The old adage, "You're interviewing them, too" applies here. Of course you don't want to turn down a great opportunity because everyone is playing the banjo in the middle of the office, but then you don't want to have to wear brown moccasins every Wednesday if it's not you. Although creative is king in advertising, culture has an important place, too. So when you're out there job hunting, it's good to consider more than just the work.

Jarrad Woods is a full-time student currently finishing up his last year as a copywriter at Miami Ad School. He considers himself an avid traveler and has interned at McCann Erickson in Istanbul, DraftFCB in New York and a Miami Ad School Greenhouse (classes at agency) at what was formerly Lowe in New York. He also writes a boxing column at
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