Martin Williams CEO Tom Moudry has the charm of the most quick-witted character on “Mad Men.”
At Monday’s open house for the advertising agency’s new digs, I grabbed onto Moudry’s arm to steady myself while getting the tour. I can report the feel of guns underneath his suit.
“I have old guns,” said Moudry. “I think they still fire.”
His biceps felt rather explosive, so I would say those three days a week at the gym are working.
The office space designed by Perkins+Will is sleekly posh, starting at the entry where Moudry said, “I wanted to make this less like a TSA checkpoint at LaGuardia or MSP and more like hotel concierge.”
There are no offices, but there are private glass “huddle rooms,” distinguished by enormous wall art of either Stanley Kubrick, Maya Angelou, Patti Smith or Bob Dylan. They are “people who inspire us in different ways. Whether it’s by the written word, whether it’s the director, whether it’s the written word in lyrics. Patti Smith not only changed rock ’n’ roll but she was a photographer who made women think differently about what they could be from an artistic standpoint.”
Somewhere Prince is pouting.
But what if Moudry needs to chew out somebody? Glass walls don’t provide much privacy, although they are great showcases by which staffers can file to be entertained during a co-worker’s woodshedding. So where does Moudry yell at someone, when necessary?
“I yell at them right in there [pointing to a huddle room]. I could be yelling at you right now,” said Moudry, who then demonstrated: “C.J., [expletive withheld] I told you not to …’’ speaking brusquely without gesticulating those guns (aka ripped arms; try to keep up, people).
The area of the company called Grand Central Station is where all the client jobs being worked on, and by whom, are displayed. Here there are also clocks with names of cities beneath them. “All the great beach cities,” said Moudry. “St. Tropez, Phuket, Montauk, Big Sur … St. Paul.” Come again? “The Mississippi River makes it a beach city.” If Moudry says so.
While there is a fabulous main conference room, there is also a meeting room that has no conference-like table. “We have meetings in here [and there’s] a totally different dynamic; people are sitting in a living room. People are more collaborative and behave differently. We have much better conversations,” he said.
My favorite room is also apparently a big hit with the people who matter most to this branding agency — which must know something, having been around since 1947. It’s a rectangular room that takes full advantage of its shape by having a dart board on one wall. “It’s kind of a man cave,” said Moudry. “Our clients love this. They have meetings during the day and then at 5 o’clock they like to come in here and play some darts and have a drink,” said Moudry, directing attention to the table with the adult beverages. “Those are not props, be careful there.”
I try not to make that kind of news, I told Moudry, and instead write about those who do.
While I had Moudry’s ear, I complained about the decline of good grammar in TV commercials. There is the egregious misuse of there’s and the fact that copywriters don’t know when to use fewer vs. less.
“Syntax and grammar are lost arts. If my mother, Margaret, were still alive she would say, Thomas, that’s poor grammar. A lot of people struggle with the English language,” he said. English is not nearly as smooth as Moudry.
Improving on life?
A staffer for Perkins+Will was super satisfied in a most unexpected way with the caricature Matt Hennen drew at the Martin Williams party.
When artist Hennen showed the drawing to Perkins+Will staffers Tony Layne, Anne Smith and Doug Bergert, Smith enthused, “You made my boobs look great!”
There was more on display in the drawing than in the dress she was wearing. Don’t know whether artistic license was taken or if those were the artist’s original orders.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.