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One man's quest to work 14 agencies in 14 months: The Great Agency Adventure part 3

Six months ago, Steve Taylor, a copywriter who had been living his advertising dreams in New York, decided to give up the day job to trek across the USA and spend one month at a time at a variety of creative agencies. In our latest catch-up with Taylor in Memphis, where we learn that conservative doesn't always mean boring and to always check that your Airbnb apartment has towels.

What were your first impressions of Red Deluxe?

I’d have to say that my very first impression was how lovely the office is. It’s very modern, clean and has great accents in all the right places. It was a bit weird for my first few days, because unlike the other agencies I’ve visited so far, Red Deluxe doesn’t have music playing throughout the office, but I got used to it and fit right in by my second week.

And Memphis, TN – what’s the creative scene like there?

It’s not as developed as some of the other places I’ve been to, but you can tell there are people making a big push to change that. In the downtown area in particular, you can see these little pockets of creativity pop-up and it’s very inspiring. In areas like Midtown and South Main, things are already beginning to take root and it’s continuing to branch out and evolve. I think there’s a lot of opportunity here and people are starting to take advantage of that.

So describe the first day, what were you given to do?As with all my stops, day one was spent getting to know the teams and the clients I’d be working on. The office manager, Geri, really took it upon herself to show me around and she was a big help in getting me situated and ready to go.What was the culture like at the agency?It’s more conservative than that other places I’ve visited. That’s not to say the people here aren’t as creative, just that the office itself is more—well—office-like. I know some people might see that as a bad thing, but the people are love being here and that’s the most important thing. Everyone here is really connected and they genuinely enjoy one another’s company. That’s something you don’t always see, but always notice.What was the biggest challenge you faced?This month, my biggest challenge came through my AirBnB. I wouldn’t say this apartment is a nightmare—but it got pretty close. I actually had to stay in a hotel my first night here because I couldn’t get a hold of anyone and I had no towels, linens or pillows. After being on a train for two-days straight, it was the worst situation I could imagine. I didn’t end up getting to sleep until about 2am. Did you have any slip ups, or do anything to piss off the boss?Not that I’m aware of. I think my clean streak continues for another month!What are the big lessons will you be taking with you?I think this stop in particular showed me that an agency’s space truly reflects the personalities of those within it. As I mentioned this is a fun, but very professional environment and while that might not be appealing to everyone, it works for the people here and in turn that allows them to do their very best work.What were the agency’s parting words to you?Everyone had very kind words for me on my last day and wished me nothing but the best. How does it compare with the other agencies you’ve visited?I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but as I mentioned, their professional space is a bit more traditional and professional. I’d say that’s the biggest difference I noticed.Describe your overall experience in three words?Accommodating. Relaxed. Engaging.Where are you off to next?My next stop is a great shop in St. Louis, MO called Boxing Clever. This is the latest Q&A in a series with Steve Taylor. Every month The Drum will catch up with him to find how where he has been, where he is going, and how he is coping with life on the road. But if you can't wait until then you can follow @zombieparmesan or The Great Agency Adventure blog.

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is deputy news editor at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in the retail and FMCG sectors. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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