Inside the agency: Posterscope brings its out-of-home vision indoors

Interactive out-of-home advertising is a rapidly growing space, and Dentsu-owned agency Posterscope wants to be at the fore.

The agency’s New York City space in the Tribeca neighborhood is more high-tech lab than advertising shop, complete with beacons, glass smart-screens that double as whiteboards and digital facial recognition screens that track the user’s gaze and gage age, gender and emotion. The indoor tech helps the agency prototype data-driven billboards and social media activations for a roster of clients that includes Microsoft, Reebok, General Motors and Coca-Cola.

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The glass smart screen and whiteboard

“Out-of-home often gets a bad rep for lack of measurement, so this is just one example of how solutions like visual analytics can help mitigate it,” explained Jeff Tan, vp and director of strategy at Posterscope. “It also helps clients, since we can give them live demos.”

The facial detection digital screen
The facial detection digital screen

The agency’s sprawling new space on the 25th floor of a Tribeca high rise — where it moved about 10 months ago — lends itself well to the experience. The white-walled, high-beamed office has a distinctly industrial look and plenty of room.

The layout of the agency
The layout of the agency

It also has two outdoor patios on the opposite ends of the floor, with magnificent views of both downtown and upper Manhattan. It’s not uncommon for staffers to work and have meetings outside during the summer months.

The view from a patio
The view from one of the patios

Some agencies might be reconsidering the open layout plan, but Posterscope is a fan — with about 50 employees staffed in an open space on the basis of their accounts and teams.

Staffers meeting on the outside patio during the summer
Staffers meeting on the outside patio during the summer

“Our previous office was this old, cavernous cube, so this was definitely a big change for us,” said Helma Larkin, CEO of Posterscope. “But it can get a bit echoey, so we are thinking of installing some noise machines to help a bit with the ambient sound.”

While the space is designed for collaboration, it has plenty of conference and smaller breakout rooms. Each of these pack in a good dose of popular culture. It’s bigger conference rooms, for instance, evoke iconic New York City locations, and are named “World Trade Center” and “Brooklyn” among others.

The WTC Conference Room
The WTC Conference Room

There is a game room, as well as smaller breakout rooms named after common Internet acronyms, like TGIF, LOL, YOLO and XOXO.

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The TGIF breakout room

Splashed across one of its walls is a colorful mural, an homage to some of New York City’s most iconic buildings and locations, including the Flatiron building and Katz’s Diner. Brooklyn artist Mariano Pilatti of The Raw Art created the mural, which leans on the tropes of street art to symbolize freedom of creativity and expression.

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The mural

“We didn’t want to have big, corporate photos of the boss, but rather a space people can call their own,” said Tan.

While the agency is still small, it is investing heavily in the future, in terms of data, technology and people. For this, it taps not only into its network of 800 people across 32 countries worldwide, but also Dentsu Aegis’ wider network of over 27,000 people across 123 countries. Last year, it instituted an exchange program with its London office, for instance, which saw two top performers from both locations travel to the other for a week each.

“Most agencies have global footprints, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are exposed to people from other markets,” said Larkin. “But we really believe in the power of exchanging knowledge as well as people on the path to growth.”