Manhattan’s commercial real estate, like everything in The City, is outrageously expensive. Since COVID-19 infected our public spheres last March, these towering office structures have also been largely empty.
Did you know that only 15% of office workers are projected to return by the end of 2020, according to the Partnership for New York City?
No One’s Home on Madison Avenue
Madison Avenue was once the pulsating center of the advertising agency business. That reality has been fading slowly for decades. The COVID hit and everything changed all at once.
This week, during Omnicom Group’s third-quarter earnings call, Chairman and CEO John Wren said he doesn’t “believe we need every single function in New York City; [some] can be moved to lower-cost areas,” Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse reports.
As agencies assess what the future looks like in a post-COVID world, another area of focus is mental health. Wren said being out of the office “puts different people in different situations.”
Ultimately, Wren doesn’t ever expect to see everyone go back to the office five days a week.
Underpaid and Overworked Millenials Have Been Headed Elsewhere for Years
The Hard Reset is upon us and it’s forcing new thinking and new ways of conducting ourselves and our businesses.
Ellie Mae, a mortgage data firm, has a Millennial Tracker that highlights which towns have high percentages of mortgages closed by millennials. Far-from-the-bright-lights towns like Athens, Ohio, and small cities like El Paso, Texas.
Another small city that keeps making headlines is Chattanooga, Tennessee. According to Livability.com, Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and 10-gig broadband have made the city a startup magnet.
The city’s vibrant and walkable downtown fuses public spaces, restaurants, coffee shops, and other gathering places with amenities such as a bike-share program and free downtown electric shuttle. That chemistry brings together creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, students, and tech-savvy innovators to “collide and collaborate” to conceive new ideas.
Have You Heard of Humanaut?
Humanaut is “a new kind of project-based creative agency and production studio designed for emerging, challenger brands that need advertising and video thingies but don’t want an ad agency.”
The Humanauts also love their Chattanooga home.
According to Zillow, the typical home value of homes in Chattanooga is $185,747.
The typical home value of homes in New York is $632,271.
With vacant office buildings, fleeing clients, reduced fees, and a host of recruitment and staffing problems, it’s past time for the ad agency business to move on.
When You’re Nearer to the Customer, You’re Closer to the Answer
The best advertising makers are the people who best understand other people. To better understand other people, you first must know other people. This is true if you live in Brooklyn or Des Moines. The point is to be ever-curious and always be expanding your circles.
One of the oldest maxims in the ad game is: Will it play in Peoria?
It’s impossible to know when you’ve never been to Peoria or anyplace like it. Wherever ad people choose to live and work, we are all professionally obligated to spend significant time and effort getting to know the people of this nation (also known as our clients’ customers).