DraftFCB — An Ad Agency Full of Surprises

Not to brag but… I got to go on an agency visit to the one, the only, DraftFCB.

If you have never heard of DraftFCB, please stop living in a cave and go to their website ASAP.

Prepare to be blown away.

Now to get down to business.


On April 23rd I was lucky enough to go on an agency visit to the DraftFCB Chicago headquarters with DePaul PRSSA. As a PR major, I was only mildly curious of the inner workings of an ad agency. All I was aware of at the beginning of the day was that DraftFCB was responsible for creating that adorable Gerber baby commercial. However, as I got my laminated name tag and entered the conference room, I knew this was no ordinary company.

Alissa Lasky, the account director for Boeing, greeted our DePaul PRSSA group with an introduction on DraftFCB. As one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, DraftFCB covers clients from SC Johnson to Kraft Foods to Toyota to even Taco Bell. In 2006, the ad agencies Draft and Foote, Cone, & Belding came together to form DraftFCB and the company is now considered the most successful merger in ad agency history.

New Concepts

The new concept at DraftFCB is the “6.5 seconds that matter”. The idea is that 6.5 seconds is the average time in takes to communicate a message to an audience. Think streamline communication.

The company also follows a “Holy S*&t” number policy. This is the exact capture of that one moment when the audience is completely taken by surprise. Now that’s how you communicate a message!

“The Wheel” allows team members of an account to work together and bounce ideas back and forth.

Account Managers
Content Creators
Strategic Planners
Customer Intelligence
Media Team

pictures from DraftFCB website.

What’s the plan?

  1. Success Session–sets up the client’s business context. Clearly geared towards success!
  2. Strategic Rumble–combining the brainpower of the client and the agency
  3. The Brief–What’s that “Holy S*&t” number??
  4. Creative Rumble–one week of uncontrolled creative energy geared towards nailing that “6.5 seconds that matter”

What makes DraftFCB unique?

  • The DraftFCB Chicago location is one of the only full-service production offices in the company. That means they can do basically everything right in the building.
  • One word: Staircase. The building has an amazingly beautiful spiral staircase that goes up to the top. The architecture overall is unreal and the lounge… let’s just say your jaw would drop if you saw it.
  • The company has adopted a few pups from PAWS and house them in the building. Employees can sign up to walk the dogs and many of them get to roam around the floor at ease.
  • There is a gorgeous coffee bar that all employees can buy coffee at. The best part? All the money goes 100 percent to support Pediatric HIV/Aids.
  • They have an area dedicated to sharing and inspiring creativity. This room always has different projects in it. During our visit, the art medium of choice was Peeps (yes, the Easter candy marshmallow)! Two of the more notable pieces were Peeps dressed as “Jersey Shore” characters and a total Peep mural of Obama.

Want else did I learn?

  • DraftFCB handles over 800+ clients around the world.
  • 97 countries, 160 offices, 9,700 employees (imagine the conference calls)
  • Their relationship with SC Johnson is over 50+ years.
  • The company was named one of the Best Places to Work by Crain’s Chicago Business.
  • It is not your typical 9-5 job. Employees work whatever hours necessary to produce the final product.
  • Eric and Chris from the Boeing account like wearing and talking about jorts.

After a fun tour and informative yet humorous panel discussion with the Boeing team, DePaul PRSSA left the DraftFCB building feeling uplifted. I think we all wanted to work in such a creative atmosphere and communicate our ideas all over the world.

As for this PR girl, I stuffed my notes in my pocketbook and headed out into the rain to go to work.


About LSnyder

I am a Freshman at DePaul University majoring in PR & Advertising. I'm obsessed with the following: the Holidays especially Christmas, food and its glorious temptations, New York City, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a good book. I'm a writer, a photographer, an artist, and, most importantly, a creater.
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