On a recent Thursday night, I welcomed some after-work distraction by joining Jason Mical and the Digital Media team at Edelman PR’s HQ in Victoria. Wow. What an experience. Jason and I got to know each other through the Stella Artois competition last year, where I wrote about my favourite local pub and won a trip in an airship that I never got to take because London’s summer weather consisted of too much wind and not enough sunshine. Airships do NOT like too much wind, apparently. Nor do they enjoy rain, so that was the end of the Epic Airship Oddysey.
Jason never got to ride in the airship, either, but he did make sure I received some great Stella glasses in distinctive retro style, and in the course of our Edelman Night Out he gave me another couple to add to my collection. FYI if you’re wondering why I’m so keen on these Stella glasses, I can be accident prone with drinking vessels on long stems, so these squat, practical, sturdy glasses are my new favourites in the Epic kitchen cupboard and I actually use them for wine. So far, not once have I knocked one over.
I digress. The Edelman office design is too cool for school. As Jason walked me in, there was an über-chic table before us, above which hung a mobile of images. (I later learned that those images were a bit um well physical, but forgot to give them a closer inspection on the way out.)
A glass-walled meeting room stood to one side, and a seating area to the other where a cosy group of black leather sofas and armchairs looked simultaneously traditional and cutting edge. So far, so funky.
A long bar surrounded by high stools is the place to grab your coffee or a baked potato for an eat-in lunch, apparently.
Then we passed through a library wall filled with Penguin classics into an open-plan space where most of the staff spend their working day, and there on Jason’s desk stood a nice, big Captain America. (He’s just informed me via e-mail that his proper full name is
Captain America – The Limited Edition Resin Statue, number 6 of 2000, signed by the artist
Now that’s what I call marking your territory.
(Big enough picture for you, Mr Mical?)
Further down the office we entered the bar, with a deep red theme and cosy chairs to sink into after a long day. A bar-babe poured me a glass of wine from a counter that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the sort of country hotel that all the cool people flock to, come the weekend. Jason then told me that the design had been to the brief of ’boutique hotel’. I’d probably say ’boutique hotel meets Google’, but the boutique hotel influence was most definitely there.
Jason kindly introduced me to the Digital Media team and other Edelman colleagues as “the blogger who won the airship prize,” and “one of London’s leading bloggers,”. That’s why he’s in P.R. – he cleverly neglected to say that there were other winners, that I never got to go up in the airship or that the word ‘leading’ might be somewhat premature. Bashful blushing aside, however, I liked his style. That man can represent me ANYtime.
Having checked out the Edelman HQ, we then went en Edel-masse to a pub called The Colonial, where I felt right at home before we even got through the door because, well, I am a colonial, at least, according to the colonists in this part of the world. We talked about blogs, digital media, stomach parasites, New Year diets, rugby injuries, surgical pinning techniques, Coen brothers films and how the various folk in the group accidentally fell into their current careers. Then we moved on to how to convince clients that working with bloggers is a good idea (this part ain’t rocket science – it’s virtually free P.R. for your brand, depending on how you do it and how much effort you put into schmoozing the bloggers at hand), Obama, travel, Mike Moore, life in Seattle, weekends in Istanbul, bloggers meet-ups and other bloggers. I think ghosts and hauntings even made it into the conversation, as did the elevators at Sea-Tac airport. It was that sort of night, but luckily not a late one.
I do hope to see more of the Edelman crew, as I have a sort of open invite to join them on another Thirsty Thursday soon. Meanwhile, here’s an interesting clip featuring the Edelman office as the state of the UK office environment comes up for discussion.
STOP PRESS! If you’re interested in the state of the nation/s, you should check out the Edelman Trust Barometer for 2009, released this week, which tells us what we trust and what we don’t in the world of business, government, media and NGOs. As Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman says:
“It has been a catastrophic year for business… Our survey confirms that it’s going to be harder to rebuild our economies because no institution has captured the trust that business has lost.”
Interesting to note that at this time last year, Edelman’s barometer showed that we trusted the banks. Now, they’re in the gutter of trust. This report is definitely worth a read if only to confirm what we already know: that we’re nowhere near the light at the end of the economic tunnel.