What It's Like To Work At Rokkan, The Trendy Video Game Agency

mafia II

Photo: Mafia II

When video game makers Nintendo, 2K and Rockstar need a website or a digital campaign to promote a new release, they turn to Rokkan, an independent ad agency located in New York’s Chinatown.Rokkan has handled digital marketing assets for franchises such as Mafia II (pictured), BioShock, Duke Nukem and Final Fantasy.

As you can imagine, it’s a hot place to work.

The agency was founded in 2001 by John Noe and Charles Bae, who pitched their second client—Deutsche Bank Global Cash Management Group—before they even had a proper office. “I don’t think that they knew that. And we won that work,” says Noe.

The shop now has about 60 employees with annual revenues projected at about $10 million this year.

Rokkan—the name is a Japanese word meaning intuition—is always on the lookout for new hires, but finding people with the right skills is tough, even in a recession.

“People who are really good in this industry, advertising, they have the power to go wherever they want. They can stay at a place a year or less than a year and then say I want to go somewhere else now. It’s very easy for very talented people to hop around. And it makes sustaining a company very difficult,” says Bae.

Rokkan is located in Chinatown, above Lendy's electrical supplies.

This is reception, on the second floor of the building.

Here's the lounge just off reception. Rokkan has been in this space about two years.

This is what most of the office looks like. Check out those lovely old domed windows.

This is the door to CEO John Noe's office. (The sign is a joke.)

And this is John Noe in his natural environment.

Chief creative officer Charles Bae sits out among the staff.

His dog May lies near his desk.

Here's the view from his side of the building.

strategising in a conference room.

The office has a couple of these bladeless Dyson fans.

The main board room.

People write business ideas on the glass walls of the conference room.

Disaster planning.

The kitchen.

Also, coffee is for closers!

Talking of coffee ...


The communal lunch area.

This ping-pong table doubles as a conference room.

The bathrooms at Rokkan are communal -- except this one, which has been commandeered by the female staff.

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