“Robot House Creative wants us to come by?” I said to myself as I reread the email for the tenth time. Robot House Creative, the Strategic Branding Agency behind the branding for Pump Bar, Hillbilly’s, and Rockford Cocktail Den invited ATB:OKC to come by and have drinks? The agency behind the Crazy Smart Radio Mullet campaign emailed us? On purpose?
In the back half of the Sweet Law office in Automobile Alley is Transmission, the shared, creative space that Robot House Creative, Simon Hurst Photography, Digital DK, and Black Cat Design all call home. Remember that shit-eating grin on Charlie’s face as he wandered into the Chocolate Factory? That was my face as we arrived (late), trying desperately to play it cool and act like we knew what we were doing. Brian Winkeler, aka Willy Wonka, greeted us warmly and showed us around the expanse, giving us the history of Robot House Creative while Brett and Adam wrapped up their work week. Simon from Simon Hurst Photography and Steve from Digital DK popped in too, and gin, beer, and coffee soon smoothed the transition from work week to weekend. As we heard success stories, origin stories, and good jokes, I couldn’t believe this many talented people share the same space every day.
Each group has their own office in Transmission with a giant open space, kitchen, and conference room that’s shared. They’re all friends and professionals, driving each other and our city toward greater creativity and culture. “Cultural Evangelists” is the term Brian used and it couldn’t be more true. Each one of them could be in Dallas or Chicago, but they’re here in Oklahoma City because they want to be. They each have accounts outside Oklahoma City, but they live and create here; they thrive here. And the secret to their success: “we don’t work with assholes,” Brian smirked in his dry, award-winning humor, an actual twinkle in his eye. “I don’t take any of it for granted. OKC is so much more than I thought it could be, but now I know that it can be even more.” Rumor has it, the the group will host a party in Transmission at some point, and when they do, you’ll definitely want to make sure you’re there.
Photos courtesy of Simon Hurst.