Agency. Cul­ture. Not.

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Ac­cord­ing to the an­nual Ad­ver­tis­ing Age report re­lated to the best places to work: "Hap­pi­ness does not equal perks.” That was one of the key take­aways from a re­cent panel that in­cluded ex­ec­u­tives from some of Ad Age's 2014 Best Places to Work. Happy em­ploy­ees are em­pow­ered and have a sense of pur­pose. They come to work ev­ery day and feel good about the peo­ple they're work­ing with and for. That held true in this year's edi­tion as well. Yes, the em­ploy­ees surveyed are fans of on-site yoga and free snacks, but the re­ally glow­ing reviews came from em­ploy­ees who adore their bosses, un­der­stand their com­pany's vi­sion and feel val­ued. “It's at once the most sim­ple and most com­pli­cated for­mula to get right."

This in it­self, with the pres­ence of the LA branch of M&C Saatchi as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive

Oc­to­ber 2016 from the ma­jor multi­na­tion­als in the top 20 of the 2015, is ca­pa­ble of re­flect­ing the way em­ploy­ees value or do not value the com­pa­nies they work for.

Ad­ver­tis­ing em­ploy­ees are ex­pected to keep abreast the cur­rent events, at­tend art gal­leries, be present at fes­ti­vals, read, en­rich them­selves cul­tur­ally and per­son­ally, con­trib­ute to brainstorming and new ideas for the ac­counts they work for, lead mean­ing­ful lives and re­main upto-date of the mar­ket, see new cul­tures and in­ter­act with the world they live in.

They are sup­posed to do that with­out hav­ing a proper work­ing sched­ule as the 9-5 model is ab­sent from the in­dus­try. They should be grate­ful to work over­time in tiny cu­bi­cles. They should be thank­ful to pull a cou­ple of all-nighters. They ra­tion their va­ca­tions, get bul­lied by bosses who them­selves were bul­lied be­fore they got pro­moted, are un­der­val­ued and/or ridiculed most of the time pub­li­cally, get in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in "team-build­ing" prac­tices, which most of the time is noth­ing but se­cret Santa a few days be­fore Christ­mas as they gulp their takeaway orders sit­ting on their desk dur­ing what is con­sid­ered "lunch break".

Any­one who watched "Mad Men" might have re­alised that the pro­gramme was not too far off from the truth. Men and women with de­stroyed per­sonal lives sell "berry berry de­li­cious" ideas to their clients (the slo­gan is taken from one of the pre­sen­ta­tions by Peggy), are most of the time al­co­holic (a Le­banese creative di­rec­tor was known to keep a vodka bot­tle in his

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