If you're an 18-year-old Twitter wunderkind — or a sexagenerean rocker looking for a desk job — a new program from Droga5 may be for you.
The agency is launching D5in10 Academy, a crash course into the creative side of advertising aimed at drawing in people who may not have otherwise landed in the industry.
The Academy seeks creative people who may be accomplished in music or poetry, but never knew how to get their foot in the door at an agency, couldn't afford the schooling typically needed for those jobs — or never thought of it as an option. The program is free for the 20 students it accepts, and kicks off in September.
The criteria for applicants is anthetical to a typical ad job listing. Candidates can't have a post-undergrad advertising or portfolio school degree, or have been previously employed as a creative in advertising.
Droga5 Executive Creative Director Kevin Brady said many creatives today come out of post-grad or other advertising programs, meaning everyone comes out of the same "strainer" and might result in a more homogenous group of talent.
"For a lot of people, you're kind of left out of that process if you don't have all that money to take two more years after college," Brady said. "As a result, we end up having a diversity of thought that is not quite as broad as it could be. We were thinking, 'Is there a way we can help address that?'"
D5in10 Academy will be a 10-week program held at the creative agency's offices and taught on a volunteer basis by employees. Brady describes it as a sort of "mini version of a portfolio school," which will meet for three hours each week and be divided between instruction and reviewing portfolio-building assignments. He said the agency hopes to hold the academy annually, and could potentially widen it to other departments beyond creative.
But graduates should not expect a job; he said the intention of D5in10 is education, not hiring.
The goal is to give them "a sample test of this world, and see if that's interesting to them," Brady said.
The agency was adamant that even though it is not hiring from the program, this is no PR stunt. Rather, it is "an effort to invest in the future of diversity within our industry by fostering the talents of individuals from all backgrounds who are interested in working as creatives in advertising by giving them an opportunity to learn the craft of advertising," said a spokesman.
The program will accept students ages 18 and up — Brady said the agency hopes to see a mix of younger candidates with some older ones looking for a career change. Since the program seeks applicants of all types, from filmmaker and sculptor to poet or fashion designer, Brady said they can apply with examples of whatever medium shows off their creative side — even if it's an Instagram page or a poem.
The program may not be big, but it's a start, especially if other agencies follow suit, Brady said.
"Lord knows this little program won't make a huge dent in the industry. There are only so many people we can expose it to at one time. We just hope more people do the same thing. It just makes us as an industry stronger if we're open to everybody."