Today is like any other, except that we received two emails about what’s happening inside GSD&M. The short story: Luke Sullivan is making changes and the aesthetic there is very 1990s.
At the beginning of the month, the agency elevated Sullivan to the newly created managing group creative director position. Not long before, Duff Stewart was made CEO, too. Today we’re hearing that the once top-heavy creative department has moved in some young talent over some of the heavy hitters of yore. And those guys mayn’t be happy about it.
Speaking more broadly about the agency culture, it’s no mystery that some folks have been around for awhile. It’s one of those places, we’ve been told, where a guy/gal can settle in and do some work. We’ve heard from more than one former GSD&Mer that this practice has been to the detriment of the agency — as far as keeping up with trends and aesthetic are concerned.
“Basically a good way to describe this place is that we’re trapped in the 90’s. It’s a mentality that affects everything from the silly way this place is decorated to the work we produce, not to mention that a lot of employees have been there since then and are doing the exact same thing they did back then without evolving to a changing world.”
Remodeling is expensive, but design is generally accepted to be one of those things an agency must keep up on if it wants to attract clients and talent that are perceived as forward moving. Whether that has actually hurt the agency is unclear, but it is definitely important to remember to dress for the job you want. Er, client in this case.
Other rumblings include questions about the state of Southwest and NCL, nothing we care to overblow. Nonetheless it should be remembered that any time an agency changes internally there are growing pains to endure. Sometimes that means being passed over by someone with less experience than you, and others it means losing clients and colleagues. For GSD&M puberty is going to last at least another year.