Integrated Agency Blog

Ping Pong is Passé: Serious Marketing & Advertising Agency Wanted

​When you walk into a glass-walled marketing agency and your eyes focus on a ping pong table with a couple of hoodies clicking a ball back and forth, you’re meant to be thinking: innovative, tech-savvy, free-thinking environment brimming with creativity and full of collaborative millennials who know all that new stuff and who work just as passionately as they play.

That’s the idea, but isn’t the whole ping pong workplace becoming something of a cliché? Why have table top games in the workplace become synonymous with creativity? When you think about it, what is creative about following exactly what all the other creative agencies do?

Are Ad Agencies Afraid to be Serious?

Do you think creative agencies are afraid not to have happy hours, arcade games, and massage Mondays? Agencies know that to stay in business, they need to attract both quality clients and phenomenal staff. How do they do it? It’s not easy, but, for starters, I think we can agree that copying what everyone else does isn’t an agency’s path to success.

So, if ping pong tables are passé, what should creative marketing and advertising agencies do to attract and retain expert staff and show clients they are capable of creative strategy, meaningful collaboration, and precise implementation?

Ad agencies don’t need to copy Mad Men, nor do they have to go the ping pong route. Integrated marketing and advertising agencies should get real and dig deep into what both creative staff and quality-seeking clients really want.

What Creatives and Tech Geeks Really Want in a Workplace

True creatives and tech geeks aren’t impressed by show or adherence to best practices. They’ve worked at a lot of places and they’ve been there done that. Mimicking the standard gets boring really fast.

At the end of the day, the true creatives and expert techies really want freedom. They don’t want to work for an agency that looks like it thrives on freedom and creativity, they want a job that actually allows for real freedom of thought, where they have the motivation to do their best on every project and the room to concentrate in areas they are passionate about.

Is your rookie developer starry-eyed about the newly-released universal app language? Allow them the opportunity to align their passion with what benefits the team.

You can host a ping pong tournament all week long, and I’m not saying that isn’t amusing for the staff, but after the fun and games are over and all the staff returns to coding the same HTML day in and day out or slapping tired graphics over the same stock photos, all the distraction in the world won’t make them stay with the agency.

What creatives and tech geeks seek in a workplace isn’t the showy stuff (although a stocked kitchen and good coffee is nice to have). What makes for an engaged, high-performance, long-term staff is:

  • Company of driven experts
  • Freedom to leverage their talents to the fullest
  • Opportunity for input
  • Strategic and creative diversity

It’s not rocket science, and it’s certainly not ping pong tables—what a great integrated advertising and marketing agency looks like is a team of driven experts engaged in out-of-the-box projects that blow best practices out of the water.

Smart Clients Don’t Want Pretense

We recently sat down with a prospective client and one thing he liked about our integrated advertising and marketing agency was that it didn’t have the stereotypical ping pong table. We kind of chuckled—kids these days.

The prospect had interviewed several of the top marketing and ad agencies in the Phoenix area and he’d had enough of the ping pong crowd. He had a great product, real money to spend, and enough knowledge about marketing and advertising to know who he needed to hire to get it done. He was a smart guy and he meant business. He wanted to go from idea to implementation in 90 days and he was looking for the right team of experts to get it done. To find the best marketing and advertising agency in Arizona, he did exactly what he was supposed to do—he researched the heck out of his options—he knocked on doors, sat down with CEOs and salespeople, and he made his decision.

He chose us.

Now, I’m not saying he chose us because the only fun thing we have in the office is a fist-sized spongy basketball that one of the devs compulsively throws against the wall. And I wouldn’t call us boring by a long shot—spend 15 seconds with our CEO and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So, what do smart CEOs really want in a marketing and ad agency?

  • Results
  • Deep understanding and passion for the brand or product
  • The fusion of business strategy, creative strategy, and new tech talent
  • Data-driven team
  • Communication/clarity
  • Good, old fashioned integrity

Businesses who have a serious budget for marketing and advertising can see right through posturing and pretense—and they don’t want to pay for agency recreation and slow turnaround. FabCom is a fast-paced environment and we are getting pushed to the max of our capability every week.

Do the Work—Get Results

Creatives, tech geniuses, and CEOs alike all want the real deal. They don’t want a marketing and advertising agency that looks like an out-of-the-box, collaborative, passionate place. No one wants to align themselves with a team that is really just posturing and copy and pasting best practices. How can you tell the difference between a truly creative agency and one that merely looks the part? Whether you’re the one hiring an agency or being hired by an agency, you have to do the work and base your decision on solid research, reputation, and the conversations you have with the agency.


Brian Fabiano


Sarah Skidd