This Ad Agency Celebrated A 'Best Place To Work' Award With A Photo Of A Big Joint

Roberts Communications

Photo: Ad Age

Roberts Communications in Rochester, N.Y., was named 20th best place to work by Ad Age this week. To mark the honour, it gave the trade publication a picture of the shop’s staff dressed in stereotypical red, gold and green Jamaican garb, drinking red Stripe and smoking a huge fake marijuana joint. A couple of the staffers are seen wearing socks decorated with pot leaves.UPDATE: The photo is of “Team Reggae,” the winner of the agency’s music-genre-themed summer picnic kickball team, the agency says. See the full statement below.

Roberts Communications

Photo: Roberts Communications

EARLIER: The photo appears to come from a Roberts’ summer picnic, according to the agency’s web site. (You can see a small version of it below.)Roberts was honored by Age because:

… it’s work with a river view, a grand piano in the lobby and an office with a rich history. Roberts bought the 120-year old, six-story brick building in the High Falls section of downtown Rochester in 1996.

Some of the space is used to display work by its artists and writers. To inspire this kind of creativity, the firm holds a “FedEx Day,” a 24-hour period when all employees are free to work on whatever and with whomever they choose. Each team then presents its idea at an agency party.

Sounds lovely.

Of course, everyone in the photo is white.

Roberts spokesperson Chip Partner gave us this explanation:

This was “Team Reggae” from our summer picnic, celebrating a win in kickball or Kan-Jam over one of three other teams in goofily themed get-ups – this year based on music genres, and past years things like high school classes or the houses of Hogwarts.
Ad Age picked this from a handful of fun “people” photos they requested along with head shots of our executives. We also sent pictures from our FedEx Day innovation session, Oktoberfest hayride, and sports-team spirit day along with the picnic.
As the PR guy, I winced after you pointed out the giant fake joint my colleague is holding! We’re replacing it with a more standard group photo on our home page, but I think the readers of Ad Age are well aware that agency people are occasionally downright silly.

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