Itch—relief in a sore industry

February 14, 2020 | THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

The advertising industry’s reputation precedes itself. There has always been a certain glamour and mystique—exclusivity, even—attributed to it, not unlike that of speakeasies and 3rd wave coffee shops. This coolness, however, comes with regular overtime work, politics in the workplace, and a collective dislike for work and clients. It’s not uncommon for people unhappy at work. There’s even an Instagram account dedicated to the anger and sorrow of agency .

We’d like to believe that Itch goes against all of this. 

Itch has always been an outlier in the world of advertising, even more so amongst the handful of independent boutique agencies in the industry. And this is probably because of one crucial difference—Itch wasn’t started by someone from advertising. Most other boutique agencies get their start because an ad veteran is sick of their current agency’s bureaucracy. Itch started because  Armand Sazon had a network that opened opportunities to him, opportunities that he believed he could scale up.

And scale up he did. What Saz lacked in advertising experience he made up for in ambition and  tenacity, and now we’re a 9-year-old agency that’s done well enough to relocate to a bigger space twice in those 9 years.

Without the restraints of a bigger corporation looming over us, we were able to develop one thing that we feel might be unique in our industry: happy employees. Born of empathy and genuine concern for each other, we started our very own culture.

Along the way we developed our core values: Collaboration, Adaptability, Perseverance, Integrity, and Excellence (CAPIE). Then we took it further when we came up with our company purpose—develop authentic creatives. This means we apply CAPIE to make sure that the work we do is authentic and gets the job done for our clients.

But “authentic creatives” doesn’t just mean the work we produce—it’s all of us, each and every one of us at Itch. We’re all creatives (and accounts people and strategists and admin staff) who are allowed to be true to ourselves. Traffic manager wants to take a more creative role? You got it! Account manager requesting for an extended leave to focus on a screenwriting workshop? Go ahead! We don’t even adhere to the dictum, “don’t shit where you eat.” There are currently four couples at Itch, and most if not all our officemates’ significant others are welcomed warmly when they drop by.

And the best thing about our company purpose? We developed it together, as a company. On two sheets of manila paper we wrote down what each of us felt Itch stood for and we condensed all of that in one phrase. Develop authentic creatives.

It’s these little things that make our workloads worth persevering through. That we know that the people we work with are genuinely looking out for us, that our bosses don’t act like bosses at all, that everyone’s birthday is celebrated, and that we’re heard when we have concerns—these are the things that make Itch a great workplace. 

But Itch is not this way because of our company purpose.

Our purpose is that way because this is who we are.

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