Campbell Ewald is a renowned advertising agency with deep roots in the Detroit, MI area. Founded in 1911, the agency boasts clients like USAA, Unilever, Kaiser Permanente and OnStar. Part of an international holding company, the Detroit office employs nearly 500 writers, designers, strategists, account executives, digital producers, editors, and support staff.
In January 2014, Campbell Ewald moved its 1970s-era suburban offices to city center Detroit, occupying five floors in a renovated warehouse that’s part of the Ford Field complex.
Moving from a workspace dominated by private offices and cubes to an open space with more than 100 collaboration areas and a soaring open atrium, the agency’s environment is buzzing with ideas and innovation.
Moving provided Campbell Ewald a blank canvas to reset its ways of working. Its old location, built out in the 1970s, consisted of formal offices, cubicles and closed-door conference rooms. The new space is more informal, with more than 100 collaboration spaces and few private meeting rooms.
Comfortable, casual, multi-purpose furniture helps customize the space for impromptu meetings. Because most of the furnishings are mobile, it’s easy to add another ottoman, table or pullout chair to adapt to changing needs.
“We wanted to provide our creative people with a stimulating and collaborative environment,” said Jari Auger, CFO/COO, Campbell Ewald. We moved from a very enclosed environment that severely limited our ability to energize, motivate and empower our strongest asset: our employees.”
The agency’s values of transparency and open communication are reflected in the towering five-story atrium that defines the space and provides visual access to all floors. A 43’ LED multi-functional video wall dominates the atrium with social media feeds, presentations, videos and live events.
Prior to the move, agency employees were distributed across multiple levels, and rarely moved from floor to floor. Today, with ample seating areas, lounge spaces and areas, employees enjoy spontaneous meetings and conversations across the entire footprint.
“We really wanted a space to drive change in our culture. We wanted energy and buzz. We wanted to get away from that formal feel and be more informal. We wanted people to start conversations in the kitchen instead of booking a private conference room,” said Kelly Barnes, director, Corporate Communications, Campbell Ewald. “Now people have changed their habits. They’ll say meet me by my desk and we’ll go grab a pod.”
“We wanted the CE space to drive a change in their culture and transparency is the key to connecting and feeling connected,” said Jaimelyn Neher, LEED AP BD+C, Designer, Neumann/Smith. “From a design perspective, transparency is evident through the building materials such as glass walls in conference rooms and the atrium connecting all the floors together.”
The agency makes its living selling ideas, so its space needed to inspire new ways of thinking and working.
Its new space includes two tree houses perched atop cement beams, accessible via ship’s ladder and a scaffolding bridge. These hideouts feature four leather chairs and a table, perfect for a small group meeting or individual privacy.
Indoor and outdoor patio spaces provide a change of scenery with views of Ford Field’s concourse and Comerica Park. Each features seating areas, complete with wifi, television screens and even heaters for the chilly Michigan winters.
“Our goal was to provide employees with the best overall experience to breed creativity and innovation,” said Auger. “It’s amazing how much the space has contributed to ideas for our clients and better morale for our company.”
The agency’s brand immersion area features multiple interactive touchscreens so clients and agency staffers can co-create in real time.
Forty television screens connected to Apple TV are scattered throughout the office, allowing employees to wirelessly sync their phones, laptops, tablets and other devices to share videos, drawings and presentations virtually anywhere.
“One of our biggest process changes since the move is the shift from being paper heavy to totally digital. We now have fewer filing cabinets and less desk space, so people are more apt to save electronically,” Auger said.
“This city is a hotbed of aspiring creative and entrepreneurial talent and we wanted to be part of that vibrancy and energy, as well as contribute to the innovation and creativity that are fueling the city’s comeback. We wanted to bring our employees together in a contemporary, vibrant atmosphere to inspire ideas that will result in game- changing solutions for our clients.”