72andSunny Gives its In-House School a Course Correction

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72andSunny is re-jiggering its in-house creativity incubator, 72U, for its second round.

The experiential creative program, which brings in students for a crash course in advertising and creativity, is now shorter, running only 12 weeks where the previous round ran 10 months, and most importantly, is free.

"There has been a lot of cynicism generated due to company programs that mandated that tuition gets paid," said John Boiler, founder and president at the agency. "Frankly, we don't need that kind of noise and this is an investment in [the students'] future."

The program previously cost $10,000 per student. Students from the second class will have to contribute $1,000 when they begin the program, but will use that money for their end-of- course assignment, which will see them working with a yet-to-be-announced non-profit on a project to "make the world a better place."

The agency has brought in Maria Scileppi, the former director of the Chicago Portfolio School, to run the program and structure classes, assignments and speakers. Ms. Scileppi said that she is going to be asking students to experiment with different mediums, and find different ways to work as teams -- individually, in small groups, and as one, six-person group. Specific assignments include taking a fictional virtual company and coming up with a concept for a physical store, or developing their own "personal brand."

The students will be placed with other 72andSunny staffers, and will also act as an "extra pair of hands," should anybody at the agency need help with their clients. At the end of the program, Mr. Boiler said he hopes they stay on with the agency -- a few people from the first class did -- but said at the end of the day, it's important to "connect them to the opportunities they are interested in," and thus avoid any conflict of interest.

Applications close April 5, and 72andSunny employees will help choose the students, with prospective students' information posted on the "wall" in the agency that people can take a look at and vote on.

Other agency-school setups have had mixed results. Perhaps the best-known of the lot is Wieden & Kennedy 12, what the agency calls an "experiment disguised as a school disguised as an agency." It's a 13-month program in Portland that was founded in 2004, and costs students $13,000.

Miami Ad School offers "Greenhouse Internships" where students go and work inside an agency -- DraftFCB Chicago, Ogilvy Paris and Saatchi & Saatchi Stockholm are all partners -- and work on the shop's projects. There is also the now-defunct partnership between Miami Ad School and Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which rebranded the school as CP+B Miami Ad School in 2004. The partnership ended "years" ago, according to the agency.

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