News / Advertising

Ogilvy’s open-to-all internship pays the Living Wage, aiming to diversify advertising

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Dave Towers: The Pipe posters

Advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather has launched The Pipe, a six-month creative internship programme that pays the Living Wage — a voluntary wage calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. The scheme has no upper age limit and is open to anyone, not just graduates, with the intention of offering opportunity to a broader group of people. By paying the Living Wage, the agency offers a chance to people who can’t afford to intern. The current UK Living Wage is £8.25 an hour, and the London Living Wage is £9.40 an hour, compared with the national minimum wage of £7.20 for over 25-year-olds (£6.70 for 21-24-year-olds).

“There is a lot of talk about diversity in the creative industry,” the agency said in a statement, “but most of the time it’s just that. Talk.

“Right now, the vast majority of new talent coming into the creative industries is coming from university, and that’s a good thing,” it continues. “But university isn’t for everyone. Some of the most creative people in the world don’t have an academic bone in their bodies. Couldn’t write you a paper. Couldn’t sit a test. Couldn’t even sit still in class.

“Age is another issue. They say creativity is a young man’s game. But are we missing out on decades of real life experience, worldly understanding, and a honed sense of intuition?”

The Pipe will be taking on 14 interns at a time, and applicants don’t need experience or a degree. After six months interns will have built a portfolio of work, which will be critiqued by Ogilvy Group’s executive creative directors, and affect whether they are offered a further six month contract as a junior creative and potentially a full-time position.

Graphic designer Dave Towers has designed a series of posters for the launch of the scheme. The black and white hand-painted repeat patterns are interrupted only by choice quotes from agency founder David Ogilvy, such as “Big ideas come from the unconscious” at the centre of a target; and “Talent I believe is most likely to be found among non-conformists, dissenters and rebels,” on a cross on a page full of dots.

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Dave Towers: The Pipe posters

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Dave Towers: The Pipe posters