Dear Ad-land

We appreciate 2020 has thrown us all one hell of a curveball, but when it comes to advertising – no one has been hit harder than our interns, our juniors and the thousands of young people across the country who are the future of our industry.

And as more and more placements are being cancelled or put on hold and many juniors being let go – what was once a near-impossible task of getting hired in ad-land is now almost certainly a non-starter.

Together, we need to find a way to stop these talented and ambitious creatives ditching ad-land for another career. Because that’s what will happen. 

Yet again, only those who can afford to wait, will, and those who can’t just won’t. We’re just feeding this environment where only the affluent survive, and we know full well that’s going to affect the diversity of our industry – something we all vowed to be better at. And something that is so, so vital to creating the best and most effective work for our clients and beyond. 

So, we wanted to remind everyone of the benefit of having emerging talent in our businesses, especially during this period of uncertainty.

It’s the most obvious one, but we all know an idea can come from anywhere, and these creatives are full of them – and at ¾ of the cost of more senior folk. A placement wage is £10.75ph and a typical placement is 3 months long. So agencies, when you’re allocating budgets for the rest of the year please consider what difference a 3 month placement could make to both parties. Even if you cannot commit to a full-time job, a 3 month paid placement will help our emerging talent get the experience they need, and a chance to make real work.

The world is now more online than ever before. Uploads on YouTube and TikTok are higher than ever before. And we bet you’ve even downloaded it. The world is now run almost entirely online. These creatives grew up online. They understand all the platforms you haven’t even heard of yet. Looking for ideas for these platforms? Talk to the people already using them. 

Lots of placement teams and solos we meet are more tech savvy than we were, even the most recent years’ grads. They can shoot, edit, photoshop, illustrate – some are even a walking, talking production company. Utilise their skills. We’re having to get creative with shoots, these skillsets are needed more than ever.

These creatives are so eager to get going – and now more than ever. They’re going to work hard, there’s absolutely no doubt about that. Imagine if you just gave them a chance.

And whether you can or can’t take placements or juniors right now, there’s other ways you can help. For example: 

Virtual Placements.
A lot of us are still working at home, so why can’t a placement team?
Placement teams/creatives can work wherever, they’ve just finished school, college, uni remember – they are capable of working anywhere. More than we are. They are experts in this.
And zoom/ hangouts / facetime – they’re all over it. And they definitely won’t spend 10 minutes trying to work out how to share their screen. We’ve had creatives tell us agencies aren’t offering virtual placements because it’s not the ‘real experience’, well it feels pretty real to us.

Virtual book crits.
Firstly, we’d like to thank those of you who have participated in our CO-VIDEO crits we started in the early days of lockdown. But for those who haven’t and are looking for ways to help young people, video crits are a great way to help them work on their portfolio. If you haven’t already, please add yourself to our Crit Me list. But don’t wait for them to come to you. Post on LinkedIn or Twitter offering crits – make yourself accessible.

Being a mentor is still valid in this time, you can still give advice from behind a computer screen. Emerging talent need face-time with senior creatives, they are keen to learn. So if you can’t offer them a job, offer them an hour to chat. To answer questions, to give them advice and share your journeys with them. 

Student talks.
Unis, colleges and schools are about to start up again. And they need our help – more than ever. So speak with your local university, college or school. Call your old college tutor, or your old school. Set up a zoom lecture. Set a live brief. Give students real briefs to work on.

Not hiring? Others might be.
If you meet an amazing creative, or creative team but you can’t hire them. Tweet about them. Email your agency friends. Share their portfolio on LinkedIn. It’s important we help emerging talent in any way we can, and sometimes even a retweet can go a long way.

But most importantly, don’t do nothing. You may still have your job. You may not be hiring. But you can still help. 

This pandemic isn’t going away, but talent will.

Don’t lose it.