May 9, 2016

Gotham Tours: The CementBloc

Health, wellness, and pharmaceuticals are a far cry from the usual answers of media and entertainment you expect to hear as an industry of choice for an upcoming creative. On Monday, March 21st, on our trip to CementBloc their employees shared the same sentiment (with the exception of one copy-writer). Despite never having thought that healthcare advertising would be where they ended up, the creatives at CementBloc love what they do and working in an industry that allows them the chance to try new things.

CementBloc, or The Bloc as it’s more commonly referred, recently moved into their 2 floor space in the Financial District. Despite initial concerns about the location, they have fallen in love with the amazing East River view and really enjoyed the chance to design an office to embrace their industrial aesthetic and create one of the most inviting open office setups I have ever seen (plus they allow dogs which is always a plus).

Our visit started out with a short Q&A session with an Art Director and 2 Copywriters about what working for The Bloc is really like. This allowed for a great chance to be walked through the conception of a current project. The thing about the wellness industry, they explained, is that it’s a place where new ideas are constantly being embraced. We have all seen the magazine ads that do more to turn you off of a product then sell it —that’s not CementBloc. They take those outdated, scary ads and make them amazing! Just like any other advertising agency, they go through all the stages. Sometimes, there’s the added challenge of having to update one of those outdated concepts to look modern, and sometimes it’s about coming up with something completely new.

The next portion of our visit was the office tour. As somebody who finds a lot of fault with most open office plans, I found theirs truly enjoyable. There were plenty of spaces that allowed for collaboration and appreciation of the view without getting too close into the desk spaces. The noise level was at a minimum on both floors (though apparently the 2nd floor is the quieter space). As mentioned earlier, they got to design this space and that allowed them to make it as open as possible. The main offices are situated in the center area and have glass walls to the outer office which creates transparency both physically and mentally. The idea to put offices at the center allows the outer part of the office and best views to be open for everybody to share, which really helps with the sense of community within the space. 

As a final piece of our tour, our guide introduced us to The Bloc’s internship program, and as somebody who has been a design intern and currently works with students looking to intern, I can tell you that their program is high quality. Interns at The Bloc become their own mini team. They hire intern Art Directors, Copywriters, Account Managers, Data Analysts, etc., and as a team you get to work together on actual client projects with the opportunity to pitch to the client at the end of the experience! Isn’t that amazing? Along with the projects there are numerous professional development opportunities built in throughout the summer to really help make the experience worthwhile. 

The Bloc was a great place to visit. They were really open to making it a great learning experience for students and showed us the great design work taking place there!

Written by: Samantha Harvey
Images from individual company website, not for reuse

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