The Best Intentions

Andrew Gledhill, president of Ground Zero in Marina del Rey, Calif., is making a change that’s sure to thrill his staff: There will be no more once-a-month martini nights at the agency. From now on, they’ll be held twice a month! “There will be more martinis at Ground Zero,” Gledhill promises with a laugh.

Managers across the industry (hopefully yours included) have made New Year’s resolutions for the workplace, and many of them involve quality-of-life issues. At Bartle Bogle Hegarty, that’s a priority this year for U.S. chairman and chief marketing officer Cindy Gallop. She and her team in New York will consider anything they can do “in terms of improving our internal processes, streamlining things so that people work less hard and have more fun,” she says. She also wants BBH to “continue to push the envelope of branded entertainment in ever more groundbreaking ways” in 2005.

Mike Hughes of The Martin Agency in Richmond, Va., is focused more on quality of work, and has set goals for his 13 new creative directors. Six months ago, he replaced a group cd structure with multiple cds, and since then he’s been working to “discover what people needed to learn” and to “help them overcome weaknesses.” “Now that we gave them all that authority,” Hughes says, “we want to work with them, cajole them, demand more of them, to make sure they’re getting the best work done that they’re capable of.”

Cheers may echo through Bromley Communications in San Antonio now that chief creative officer Catarino Lopez has resolved to cut down on meetings. “I pay people to come up with ideas, and meetings are not really the place to do that,” he says. As it grew, the agency became meeting-heavy in recent years. “It’s brought us away from the cut-to-the-chase, get-this-done attitude,” Lopez says. “I want to get back to our old self.”

At Leo Burnett in Chicago, chairman and chief creative officer Cheryl Berman plans to share what she hopes will be a “freeing message”—to stay away from the office more. “It’s really good to get out and about, be a consumer, get into the real world, eat our products, drink our products, drive our products, help us go find some new ones,” she says. Berman hopes to heed her own advice. “If I’m here from 9 to 9, I don’t think that’s being a good role model,” she says.

Ron Berger, CEO of Euro RSCG in New York, quotes Tom Brokaw to explain his goals for the year: “I’m going to be spending more time thinking about less things.” What kinds of things? Ways to “continue the positive momentum we have in terms of business growth and quality of work,” he says. As chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, he’ll also put a lot of thought into “how to continue to raise and evaluate the importance of what we do as an industry.” Warning to golf buddies: Berger is also thinking about his game, and plans to cut at least three strokes off his handicap. (He won’t reveal what the handicap is, though. “If I say it, I can’t cheat,” he explains.)

Nabbing an account worth at least $200 million is the new-business goal of Mullen chief creative officer Edward Boches. In addition, he’d like to improve the product across the Wenham, Mass., shop’s various disciplines—design, interactive, creative, public relations and direct. “It’s really good in all of them, but not 100 percent of the time,” Boches says. “The idea is to bring up the percentage of how much work the agency does that is really noteworthy, becomes part of pop culture, wins awards and gets talked about.” An avid cyclist who rides 5,000 miles a year, Boches has one other resolution: This summer he wants to commute to work on his bike at least once a week from his home 30 miles away in Winchester, Mass.

Perhaps the most ambitious resolution of all, however, comes from Jim Ferguson, chairman and chief creative officer of TM Advertising in Irving, Texas. Sure, he wants his shop to do better creatively and win a lot more business than it loses. Clearly, he wants to raise the bar. But not in those words. “I’m tired of everyone raising the bar,” he says. “The bar must be 1,000 feet high. Everyone raises the bar, and I’m so sick of that cliché.” His goal for 2005? “I want to stomp out advertising clichés once and for all.”