Architecture firm commercials? Do they exist?

Well, yes. I have only found three. Three. And two of them were slideshows that featured stale pictures and soft jazz. And the other commercial shows an architecture flushing a toilet and digging around in compost.


So, anyone know of any good videos giving a decent overview of a firm and its work?

May 31, 11 4:04 pm

I sort of had the same question a while back.  This might help:

May 31, 11 4:51 pm

The AIA ran TV commercials on Sunday morning news shows a few years back.  They don't seem to show up on Google or YouTube, though. 

May 31, 11 5:58 pm

So, I'm taking it as a no?

May 31, 11 7:28 pm

As I replied below, it is definitely legal, I just personally don't believe it would be very effective. I think that growing a referral Network and changing up lead generation methods would be a great start to both short and long-term client growth! :) and without question, have a really great website with quality, valuable content for search engine optimization. Believe it or not, it works much better than Google over the long term.


i always thought that architects could break into the mainstream if they marketed their firms as home improvement chains rather than one-offs.  if someone set up offices in multiple locations with branding and everything else (commercials, etc).  anyone looking to renovate or build would automatically think of them first, you know?

May 31, 11 8:12 pm

Very interesting and innovative theory!


I remember hearing in a Professional Practice seminar that architectural firms started  advertising in the 70s and it was considered unseemly for a Profession to market in such a way. Can't remember much else as ProPrac was never a class I was wide awake for.

Related: SsD Architects presented a slide at the (first?) Pecha Kucha Boston that compared the number of projects/revenue/in/revenue out/etc... for all their publicity and PR efforts. A $60 vinyl sign with their name and web address posted on the construction site won hands down over newspaper reviews, glossies, and even a nationally broadcast PBS show.

Aug 3, 11 4:57 pm

There is a long standing stigma that existed for a long time. Architects like Doctors and Lawyers in the past considered advertisement in ANY form other than word of mouth as unprofessional. For a period of time, it was even illegal. AIA used to fine members for advertising. However, lawyers and doctors started advertsing before Architects.

Pretty much TV advertisements of architects (even less so - building designers) are largely considered in the stigma like acting like a used cars salesman. Professionals don't want to promote prices and other such tactics that resembles sales pitch and such in general.

Most such commercials would be similar to doctors and lawyers. Most stick to phone-book advertisements which basically states the kinds of services offered and project types and contact info. Maybe a little subtle pictorial image of a noted work as a background image.

I haven't really seen any building designer ad on TV.... EVER ! ! ! !


Aug 3, 11 6:13 pm

It just doesn't make sense to put architectural products on TV. 

TV is best suited for FMCGs (Fast Moving Consumer Goods), the sort of product that can be flashed on a screen for 3 seconds, and the audience will "get it". Notice that electronics sold on TV ads list very little in terms of statistics, and generally feature grinning people talking to their wives or kids and living the high life. Same with banks. Information that involves numbers and statistics are suited to print media, not television; people need it on hand to keep referring to it.

Now an architect may be able to spot the most interesting design details in 3 seconds, but as a layman, I can't. We need more time than that; a 3 second clip may as well advertise the furniture that's showing, or one wall, but not the entirety of design. Consider that we can spend an hour in a show flat and still not "get it", let alone on a TV ad. 

Finally, architecture is just not the sort of thing people go out and buy. It's like an industrial company deciding to advertise machine ball bearings on TV. *Someone* may buy it, sure, but do those one or two people justify the jaw dropping cost of a TV ad? 

Aug 3, 11 11:07 pm

I personally don't believe that a TV ad for Architects would be beneficial. The architecture field is wildly different from other professions in that the advertising and marketing efforts already achieved are minimal because it was just deemed legal to advertise in the nineteen-seventies for architects. There are still many things that can be done! I know Architects that still keep to the word of mouth and work speaks for itself message, but have elaborated by growing their Network referral system and lead generation efforts. Advertising and marketing doesn't have to be a commercial or an ad in a newspaper, but it should be more than a line in the Yellow Pages or a name and phone number in Google. Unfortunately, with the growing number of Architects in competition, although it may be difficult to stand out, there are many things you can do to get those preferred clients and projects without compromising your professional image
and ethics! :)


Architecture is not commercialize by architects, but it is by other people, such as Airlines, Travel agencies, real estate developers and others. Right now, architecture is more commercialized than ever because you can see ads about architecture everywhere. 

Aug 12, 11 12:27 am

First off,

Architecture is a SERVICE not a commodity. If anything, advertisements would be similar to attorneys and doctors.

Also architects historically felt that advertising AT ALL is a misleading venture of a fraudulant and deceptive. Nowadays, it is still somewhat a stigma. I believe that most architects don't believe in TV advertisement and such as such advertisements lends to the impression of the SLEEZY USED CARS SALESMAN that are trying to hawk you crap.

It seems to be an idealism that Architects tend to have and sort of live by and therefore conduct business in such manner. It used to be illegal to advertise because you would have your licensed revoked.


Aug 12, 11 1:18 am


Although UK centric. This is fairly a global wide tradition of the profession in modern sense which came from Europe/UK to U.S. and the modern spread from U.S. to the world in the modern sense of the profession.

Anyway, a nice read:

Even building designers don't advertise on TV  except construction contractors which may offer Design-Build but most building designers that engage as "Building Designers" not construction services tends not to advertise and until the last 10-15 years.

I think nowadays, advertisement of services are primarily Yellow Pages ads which are more for providing contact information. I think for most of us, TV commercials are not only expensive (except maybe a local TV station which essentially a digital version of a Yellow Pages ad placed on the screen for 10-15 seconds at a time. Most of us do not feel that TV commercials in the traditional sense is really in our interests and lends the SLEEZY High-Pressure Salesman image. It is the PROFESSIONAL IMAGE that we try to aim for.

We want the word of mouth and our "work" do all the talking.


Aug 12, 11 1:49 am

I absolutely agree that in a perfect world, an architect's work and referral system should be enough. But since the recession, we've learned that those traditional advertising and marketing efforts don't produce the lifestyle that most people are looking for. Just like any field, you want and enjoy a specific type of project usually and prefer a specific type of client. It takes targeted marketing and advertising to find those. It doesn't have to be super expensive, just do your research and you will find that many Architects are branching out and getting creative in the area of advertising and marketing in order to have the type of career they dreamed about. :)


If they do film commercials they better not be as cheesy and sleazy as the ones i've seen for law firms.  I feel like that would just downgrade the whole profession.

Aug 12, 11 9:44 pm

That's how they felt in the early nineteen-hundreds. Although I fully agree that any marketing or advertising endeavor should be tasteful. To be perfectly honest, I would rather see architect commercials all day long as opposed to lawyers! ;)


Although when I see cheesy or ridiculous marketing commercials, I don't personally look at the field they are in ad much as the professional themselves

it's not a tv show, but i did stumble across a firm ad/app that MAKE architects did for the ipad a couple weeks ago (this is Ken the Pen's firm in London). Content wise, it's not much different from a website, but found it intriguing they went to the trouble to make a true, full on app.


in the itunes store, free, under Make Architect

Aug 13, 11 4:35 pm

Isn't illegal for architects to advertise on television? The management class I was barely awake for... I remember dozing back into class with my instructor stating that.

Aug 15, 11 1:08 pm

Not at all illegal. Its not commonly practiced, but there are even Architects still out there that believe it still illegal to advertise. It's all about mindset and effective marketing and advertising measures taken that will target and bring in preferred clients and projects. Market away!


Up until the justice department began investigating the advertising and marketing regulations on architects in the 1970s, it was considered unbecoming and condemned for an architect to advertise or market their firm. Although it's true that you don't really see many TV commercial ads for architects, architects in the United States are finally coming around to understanding that they have a right to market their professional services just as much as anyone else. We all get tired of seeing advertising, but I would rather see an advertisement from an architect or another profession as opposed to what's already out there. Since the recession, Architects are aware that the Yellow Pages ad or a simple name and address on Google just doesn't work anymore, not if Architects are trying to grow their business and secure the clients and specific types of projects they want.

May 17, 17 8:38 am

Simple truth, you don't see architects advertising on TV (unless it is some local channel on cable TV or something). Primarily, the reason is that TV advertising costs a lot of money and the nature of architecture business makes little to no sense in advertising through that kind of medium. In the 1980s, there were some experimenting with that but never really caught on. Advertising on TV on a major network would cost a bit. After awhile, it was discovered that the return on investment was not there. By the late 1990s, it was more effective to use the yellow pages and then the internet. TV advertising lends well for product manufacturers and product sales. It doesn't really lend to service based business as much. However, lawyers which are dime a dozen had manage to be somewhat successful in this. If you want to advertise on TV, you need to to some extent like the lawyers sell the service. We can do this with video banner ads and things like that, so it can be as well on TV. You need to be able to communicate and market the services offered in short coherent messages that communicates to the average person. Do keep in mind that it takes more expense to A) produce the ad and B) have the ads broadcasted throughout the day. Some hours of the day on TV are more expensive like during the primary time of the day people watch TV. You need to treat it in part of investment strategy as part of a business expense. You need measurable return on investment to a level satisfactory. Each month on TV, it needs to pay itself. There is other avenues to advertise services and marketing. Most architects procure their work by using the available online procurement network and responding to RFPs, getting out in the community and becoming a "household name" through mediums like the newspaper. Get work known that catches the newspapers attention. I've known to have some mild success with Houzz. Being around in the community. Living a rather 'public life'. Socializing is a key to getting connected with people, distributing your business cards, getting people to know you exist, and so forth. Basically, through social interaction, getting people interested in using your firm or business to provide services. You know the contractors goes out to drink? Every day.... right? It's not just for drinking. It's for these reasons as well. I'm not suggesting you necessarily drink alcohol but being social is a good step in the direction. Doing good work and getting your business & its work published in the communities newspapers goes a long way in moving a firm forward if its positive coverage. It can also be deeply cutting if you do bad work and get bad media attention.


Above: TLDR, Short version: TV advertising tends to be more expensive to have advertising especially during day to prime-time hours. The cheap rates is usually late night near the time frame of infomercials. Add to that, the cost to produce broadcast quality TV ads (acceptable standards for broadcasting by major networks and so forth) is more expensive than producing a poster and using the digital information for a poster on a web banner ad. Advertising is a mechanism of marketing and is an investment and a business expense. You should always consider if the ad pays itself off by increasing your account receivable, number of projects, etc. in financially measurable ways. Your return on investment. There maybe other more effective methods to marketing your business. Socializing is a way of marketing. Doing good work and getting positive newspaper coverage is good advertising that you don't have to pay. It's like free advertising. Socializing comes with maybe a minor expense. People tend to select architects/designers based on what other people say about the architect(s)/designer(s) and how comfortable they feel about them before they meet them and when they meet them and from that point on. It is somewhat similar to choosing doctors.


Contractor giving you the run around?

Wife wants the addition done in time for summer?

Want it to look like an amorphous blob?


May 17, 17 8:44 am

Late one night, I saw a 30 second commercial by a large local firm that does a lot of government and institutional work.  Images of projects and footage of the senior staff walking through the office.  It was very odd.

May 17, 17 12:27 pm

the work is the commercial

May 17, 17 2:28 pm

Not really a "commercial", per se, but a promotional video:  My friend Jeff Dungan did this a while back, and has it on his website.  I thiink something like this, which gives a prospective client an idea of what it might be like to work with the architect, can be a very effective marketing tool.

May 19, 17 8:43 pm

Architecture firm commercials? Do they exist?

Yes.  They're called buildings.

May 19, 17 10:10 pm

Apparently you've never hear of Bjarke. He uses video to sell investors on projects.

May 19, 17 10:49 pm

You also don't see Ferrari or Bentley commercials.  Commercials for architects would be a waste of money.  Marketing to a broad audience where only a small % can afford the service and only a small % of them would need it.  

May 20, 17 10:37 am

Yes, I made one for my own office a while back. Got 1000% more clients since then.

May 24, 17 8:47 pm

I don't get it...

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