The hottest creative agency in Bushwick
I suppose it would be self-indulgent to tell this story while lying back on a couch, whiskey in hand, waiting for inspiration to strike. Because that’s where minds go when we hear the word “advertising.” Mad Men. Don Draper. Peggy Olson.
That would be reaching for a cliche about what advertising used to be, and often still is. A lone creative in a room dreaming up the perfect tagline. But this is the story of Madwell, a full-service creative agency allergic to cliche and intent on reaching for more freedom, more continuity and connection. In the fractured advertising world, creating a niche works—if you want to grow fast and sell your agency. And then there’s Madwell’s approach. “We wanted to build a little clubhouse that we wanted to come to work to every day,” says Chris Sojka, co-founder and chief creative officer. “It wasn’t about exiting, it was about building a viable business that was a reason to get up in the morning.”
Six years ago, when Sojka and co-founder and CEO David Eisenman dreamed of creating their own agency, they couldn’t have anticipated employing 80 people in their offices in Brooklyn and Boulder, Colo. That was an unknown. But one known? Brooklyn was the place to be.
So now they have an office in Bushwick with an indoors trailer-turned-workspace, a vintage Chrysler on the main floor, and a backyard and a garden with vegetables and blackberries. Scattered around this giant space are a bunch of young creative people. And a cat named Jackson. Many of these young creative people hadn’t worked in advertising before, yet somehow they found themselves at Madwell, where their jobs are to create and design and think in a macro sense.
As Sojka says, “We wanted to build a place where all things were of equal importance. If you’re a brand, you should care as much about the email you’re sending customers as you do about your tagline. We saw people spending time doing a big commercial campaign but not caring about the day-to-day, social-media posting.” Now, at Madwell, everyone’s job is to do both—and much more.