The Magazine

Anatomy of The Dark Horse

by Marj Casal

NuWorks opens its doors to Adobo Magazine for an exclusive tour of its industrial chic office. See how this fast-rising agency integrates both work and play into its physical space to create a distinct #NuWorksHappy culture.

We arrive earlier than the rest of the team, the Ortigas traffic dividing the group into one that’s a little late and another that’s a little bit later.


We apologize for not making it on time but the NuWorks welcoming committee, led by Jeff Saez, Chairman and President, doesn’t seem to mind. They welcome us anyway, each one, by our names, flashed on the reception area’s huge LED monitor.

It was probably the shortest and most entertaining wait of our lives, barely noticing the doors pushing open over an intense battle of Marvel vs Street Fighter in an old school video game machine–just one of NuWorks’ installations serving its purpose, an early hint on exactly what the office is all about.

Enjoy a game of Marvel vs Street Fighter in the reception area

“Everything has a meaning. Everything has a purpose here. Everything is intentional. From the layout design to the spaces, we like everything to inspire and stimulate interaction,” shares Jeff.

Indeed, every part of the small reception area provides a point of conversation. From the phoenix graffiti slash showcase wall to the curly brace symbolizing NuWorks’ creative philosophy known as ‘storyteching’ which they define as telling human stories through creative technology.

“The phoenix inspires our company–how we are evolving and transforming through time.”

Before finally moving on from the reception area, Jeff takes out a piece of paper containing what looks like a floor plan, interestingly forming the shape of the head of a horse. “We call it ‘the dark horse’ because that’s who we are in the industry. Usually, they know us as a small agency with relatively small capabilities but we surprise our clients and also our competition when we win pitches against them.”

This is just one of the “happy accidents,” as Jeff calls it, that the universe has conspired for NuWorks to achieve. Another is the very idea of how the digital advertising agency turned full service innovations agency that drives digital transformation for their clients came to be.

“We had humble beginnings. I was employed with New Media Worldwide, one of the first digital agencies in Manila. I was an art director, then an account manager and after a year, a media manager. Unfortunately, at that time, they closed shop. And that’s where I met my partner, Tom de Leon,” he recalls.

In a span of seven years, those small beginnings now seem like a blur. With over a hundred people with diverse expertise and skill sets, NuWorks has moved from just doing websites and technology products to providing transformative business solutions.

For Jeff, this success, more than anything, is thanks to its people, aptly located at the neck of the horse where the bloodlines flow. “This is where production, creativity, and innovation happen.”

The neck of the horse or work area

Putting a premium on the brains behind each successful pitch and project, NuWorks has provided its employees not just a roof under their heads but a place that encourages them to think outside the box–putting a playground complete with swings and a slide inside an office, for example.

“The most interesting part of the office and my favorite as well is the play space. It’s a combination of a playground and a treehouse which we use a lot for brainstorming. We believe posture and physical manifestation affect how a person thinks, so we don’t want to box our people in a conference room.”

The NuWorks play space

After spending more time in the playground than necessary, we reach the end of the tour at the head of the horse where the management sits, and the mouth, a multipurpose pantry where they eat, drink, play, and party as well as hold serious events like workshops, seminars, and brand war games.

The multipurpose pantry

With big clients like Unilever, Nestle, Monde Nissin Corporation, and Canon (adding: Nike PH, Belo ISCI, and Goldilocks), just to name a few, and on top of that, a brand new shiny plate for Digital Excellence in Production at the recent 4As 19th Agency of the Year Awards for the second consecutive year, NuWorks is a dark horse no more. Except, that is, for the shape of its office near impossible to see unless you’re there with them, sitting at the top.

Follow NuWorks on Facebook: nuworks, Instagram: @nuworksph, and Twitter: @nuworksph.

This article was first published in the July-August 2016 issue of adobo magazine.

Partner with adobo Magazine

Related Articles

Back to top button