Long read

Give us a deadline.

As I have started to look for a new internship in London, I’ve had little time to blog. But I thought I’d take the opportunity to blog about my looking-for-internship-journey while I’m in the middle of it.

As the economy is still in the dump finding a place to intern at is hard. But nothing worth having comes easy. And looking for an internship is a great learning experience, every interview I learn something new and get invaluable feedback on my portfolio. Sadly the interviews aren’t as many as I had hoped, though weirdly enough: the big/top agencies seem more likely to answer and grant me an audience than smaller ones.

My skill, efforts and portfolio land me interviews. My personality and ability to present will land me an internship or a job. I can’t blame anyone else for failing those. But I can blame agencies for their abysmal reply rate to recruitment emails. What’s wrong with you? Yes, I know you have more to deal with than have time for. But there is a solution, of sorts for all those emails coming in– the auto reply.

The auto reply isn’t a solution in itself; it’s the content inside it that matters.

Where no inside agency connection can be found you have to use the jobs/careers/recruitment/iwanttowork@email.com, which is seldom a good experience. It’s often a dead end, you send an email and no one ever replies. (Maybe something’s wrong with the emails I send, my portfolio or something else. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a reply from an address like that.)

An auto reply might be a lot smarter and sexier solution than it seems. Just saying: “We’ve received your application.” isn’t good enough. Luckily there are great examples of agency auto replies:

We will carefully review your details and come back to you quickly if we think your skills and experience are suitable for any roles we currently have available, and if we would therefore like to take your application further. If you have not heard from us within a week or so, I’m afraid you must assume that your skills do not match our current requirements closely enough for us to progress your application on this occasion. However, if this is the case – and with your agreement – we will keep your details on file in case another opportunity arises in the future. Many thanks again for getting in touch, and good luck.

And that’s all we want, we want to know when we can pack our bags and move on. It’ll take an hour setup (after someone have written the copy). It’s great if you look through the recruitment-email often, and can give a short deadline, but honesty and just giving a deadline are what really matters. Even if you won’t look at the email within a month’s time, have a time frame in your auto reply. It’ll make everyone’s life easier, you’ll never have to answer questions about when people can expect a reply again and they’ll no when they can let go of the application. Saving time and energy for everyone.

If You Were My Agency I’d take that hour (or two), to setup an auto-reply to those looking for an internship. It doesn’t have to be much; something is better than nothing.

Three shortcuts to better ads and a better world

I don’t like sexist advertising. I would follow it by: but who does? LOADs of people, but that’s not really the problem. Societies don’t change over night, unless it’s a coup d’état. These things will take time, and I’m OK with that. The problem is that those that can influence and speed up the change aren’t doing enough.

The advertising industry is a prime example. Selling themselves as forward thinkers, creative minds that come up with fresh solutions daily. Agencies try to be on the edge, follow trends and always be first. But they still can’t break simple norms. It’s not that I demand all agencies to stand on the barricades and go to demonstration. All I ask is a slight change in thinking; to take the road less traveled.

That’s why I’m going to give three great, and simple, examples of how to do that. As a bonus these tips will give you an edgy over your competitors, your ads will stand out and your clients will earn more money.

#1 When casting an ad, you should change up the roles. Why is always the man driving the car? Why is there always a woman in your cleaning ads?

You might say that they’re still your target group and that’s why you want them to recognize the situations and whatnot. But when we reverse roles we often get comedy out of it. Play on the stereotypes, do things a little bit differently.

Using none-traditional gender roles also opens up an even more interesting opportunity. Why not feature a gay couple? The conservatives will rage, you’ll get loads of free press. And young people, who aren’t stuck in the Stone Age, will probably like the brand even more.

#2 Don’t make women look small and weak. Once in a while try to shoot them in a low angle perspective. It’ll make them look strong and confident.

Women shot slightly from above will look small, weak and in need of a big strong man to help them. Mix it up a bit; women can be big, strong and powerful. Show it and your product targeted to them will have a positive aura instead of a negative one.

#3 Don’t put things in women’s mouths. We get it, you want a BJ. However, you wanting a BJ won’t make your clients product look better, though it will probably make you and other men turn their heads.

Selling on sex, especially in a none comic way, is a shortcut. If that’s what your creatives come up with you should get new ones.

It’s tough to say no to sex – it sells. But you should rethink how you portray women if you want your daughter to grow up believing she’s more than an object, more than something brought into the world for men to stare at, more than a second-class citizen.

So take this chance by the balls. Create something new and different – you’re paid to do that. Oh and you’ll make the world a better place for everyone while you’re at it.

Here comes some prime examples of what you shouldn’t do. The Tom Ford ones, take it furthest… they’re made like this just to provoke. I’m not sure if that makes it more or less OK. What do you think?