The plan was to write about Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s new Kingly Street
offices, complete with a name check for the architect so that BBH-
wannabes could go and sign up the same company, thus turning themselves
into a model of the most creative agency of the decade.
But BBH wants the news to get around via a ‘whispering offensive’ so I
shall have to write on the basis of a quick tour last week.
Whisked up to the second-floor reception, you could be forgiven for
thinking you had arrived at an American shopping mall: glass all around,
metallic staircases and marble floors. Inside this goldfish bowl you
almost expect to see a Swatch concession, instead there are the account
teams, working open plan and breaking off for mini meetings into
brightly coloured ‘think pods’ - a brilliant idea.
BBH has not used the move as an excuse for indulging in the corporate
excess evident elsewhere: at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Andrew Robertson
can survey an entire floor of cooped-up account managers from his
football pitch of an office, while to be on the second floor at J.
Walter Thompson spells POWER. The shared office of Nigel Bogle and John
Bartle, and Martin Smith’s office - all within sight of the account
teams - look spartan by comparison.
Interestingly, while BBH toyed with virtual but opted for mostly open
plan, the creative department still works in offices - proof that the
most conservative instincts still remain at the very heart of ad
If I wanted to pick holes, I would say that the place’s anonymous
feeling is exacerbated by the absence of work on display, which seems to
run counter to BBH’s culture of stylish creativity. Is this a sign that
it has nothing left to prove, or is it a temporary blip while the powers
debate over which clients should be allowed that delicious frisson of
recognition by seeing their ads chosen to adorn the agency’s reception?