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I had a convo with a former partner of mine. Which is a better breeding ground for creativity? Independent shops (Weiden, Wong Doody, etc) or network shops under an Omnicom or IPG (Grey, 72, BBDO)

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Holding companies make it more difficult to sustain creative culture. They’re constantly cost cutting, or forcing changes in the name of the stock price instead of what’s actually needed. Think about this list of creative shops who got bought by a holding company and where they are now: CP+B, BBH, Ogilvy, KBS, Leo Burnett. They’re all shells of what they used to be.

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It very much depends on the people, but I have worked in both and find indie to be more creative (not necessarily for winning awards as it’s hard to argue with BBDO’s track record) but in the culture and types of work that is made. But I think it’s also dependent on your position. Up to director level in a big holding company shop and working under great ECDs and CCOs can be a great creative and working experience. But people closer to the top (ECDs and CCO) might feel that their creativity is being stifled there as they have to deal with the endless meetings, budget and cost-cutting measures that come with holding companies.

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Independent by far. Even though the budgets are smaller, you get to do more, get more responsibility and ultimately, learn more.

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