At a&g, We Love Our Ampersands


Introduction by Nancy Upper

The ad agency Allen & Gerritsen believes that people make the place, and that people’s outside interests invigorate the company culture. In autumn 2012, these beliefs inspired a clever plan to attract applicants to its open intern position — the “Ampstagram” contest on Instagram.

The contest headline read:

Ampstagram: Enter for Your Chance to Become One of Our Newest Interns

The contest description began:

At a&g, we love our ampersands.

For those who don’t know, ampersands are the many “&”s that come after our official job titles. We have positions that range from marketing manager, to integrated media strategist, to senior art director, to CEO — but we’re so much more than that. We’re also tunesmiths, dual citizens, aspiring marathoners, skee ballers, and proud burrito enthusiasts. Our ampersands are listed on our business cards, attached to our email signatures, and are adorned across the walls of our offices. They speak to our diversity, and help define us beyond a single title.

In short, we’re unique. And unique is how we like our interns, too.

That is why we’re excited to announce an open intern position for the spring semester with an application process that celebrates ampersands, innovation, and art all at once!

Paragraphs followed on how to apply, winners’ perks, and “To see the complete details click here.” Sample Ampstagram photos showed applicants the kinds of submissions a&g wanted.

On March 1, 2013, a&g CEO Andrew Graff and I spoke in Mr. Graff’s office. The Business chapter of my forthcoming book, Power of Ampersand, will feature this essay by Mr. Graff.



by Andrew Graff, CEO, Allen & Gerritsen

The heart of Allen & Gerritsen beats with the help of our ampersands. For two years straight [2011-2012], our agency was named the #1 best place to work in marketing and media by Advertising Age, our industry’s foremost trade publication. These honors start with the way we think about and treat our employees.

At a&g, our mission is to be the leading independent advertising agency in the country, recognized as innovators with world-class creative ideas. We triumph when we attract and keep the best people, so we strive to ensure that people genuinely enjoy coming to work each day.

When you enter our headquarters, our logo greets you. To us, the ampersand in the logo is as critical as the “a” and the “g.” Over the years, the ampersand has become “our thing” — a visual mascot with real meaning.

The a&g ampersand represents our people & our culture & the values that keep us working as one. The symbol is so
important to us, we placed ampersand decorations all around our space.

Early on, we realized that people want to work in an atmosphere that recognizes and encourages their passions outside of the office. We call these passions our “&”s.

In our digital signatures, on our business cards, and on our deskside nameplates, after each employee’s job title we include a few “&”s about them so that others know that there is a living, breathing, feeling person behind the account manager or creative director. These “&”s — like “proud mother of three” or “aspiring foodie” or “shopaholic” — serve as talking points and ways to better connect with one another.

We firmly believe that these “&”s are what set us apart from other advertising agencies. People like working for a company that values who they are and not just what they can do.

When taken in their entirety, these “&”s form the substance of the Allen & Gerritsen brand. We’re innovative & fun & passionate & achievers & dynamic & forward-thinking & always searching for what’s next.

Photo Credits : Courtesy of Allen & Gerritsen

Allen & Gerritsen :

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