Play hard? Hard Play.

I was watching an episode of Mad Men some time ago (a wonderful show, mind you, with amazing characters, writing, and directing while also being a somewhat accurate portrayal of what we do in the advertising biz) and was really taken by how much the characters were drinking. Not only in the evening and what today would be considered “happy hour,” but in the office and during the workday as well. If you’ve watched the series, you know the episode. The one where Don has a drink before he even has his first interaction of the day.

Okay, it was every episode. All of them. Those mad women and men drink. A lot.

This, of course, didn’t help the perception that likely peaked in the 80s that ad agency folks like to party. Hard. The motto “work hard, play hard” seemed to ring truer for our industry than most others (excluding maybe the stock industry, have you seen The Wolf of Wall Street? Holy moly). I swear, the first time I heard that phrase was in an ad class in college uttered by a professional from a local agency. And I’ve hated it ever since.

At Crowley Webb, we obviously work hard. (It’s our motto for work’s sake!) We put in the effort, energy, time, and sweat to get the job done right. We always give it our all. But to think we need to then collectively blow off steam together is a little silly. And the idea that we all need the same kind of wind- down AND IT NEEDS TO BE NUTS is absurd.

That said, I was curious about the other side of the Hard Work coin. The yin to this proverbial yang. A secondary piece of communication to add to our vernacular that speaks to the fun we should all be having day-to-day in this business and agency of ours. Fun fun. Clean and productive fun. Serious fun.

This was the birth of Hard Play.

We want everyone agencywide to enjoy the play aspect of what we do. Afterall, we are in an industry that thrives on the new, the different, and the, well, fun. We want everyone to be excitable about what we do and finding joy not only in what we are making but in the making itself. We want everyone to flex their creativity no matter their department.

So we put our money where our timesheets are and made this one of our five Crowley Webb core values. Everyone is offered the opportunity to take up to two hours per week to flex their mind muscles on something that is outside the scope of what’s on their daily task lists. But tangentially related. Poetry? Yes. Watercolor painting? Yes. Eating popcorn? No. Crocheting? Yes? Designing new versions of local logos? Certainly. Writing silly video scripts about the origins of holiday songs? Oh hell yes. Watching Home Improvement reruns? No. In fact, no one should do this. EVER.

Our hope is that this time will be spent on things that could eventually turn into something we could eventually use for our agency work. And, if nothing else, it’ll keep our minds limber, nimble, and happy.

Here are some of the fun fruits of our beloved labor.

And there is of course more to come. We have quarterly check-ins at which my socks are consistently knocked off. Maybe you’ll find this inspiring and do a little Hard Play of your own. Share away!