Proximity BBDO in Brussels, Belgium has created an innovative way to lure in and keep Belgium’s top advertising recruits.  The agency has opened up “The Farm” its agency-within-an-agency, where 12 young recruits will get an opportunity to work on many of Proximity BBDO’s top accounts, including Pepsi, Nestle and ING.  The concept of “The Farm” is to grow creative talent and to give these recruits the experience necessary to create great campaigns for large clients.  The apprentices will also be working on experimental side projects that will test them and their skills.

There were 90 applicants for the 12 slots and although they are not getting paid, Proximity BBDO is giving them free lodging and cleaning services in the big mansion next to the agency.  “The Farm” apprenticeship will be one month long and at the end one student will win $7,000 and six weeks of work experience at Proximity London.

Proximity BBDO’s “The Farm” idea started because in a perfect world they would be able to hire six new grads every year.  With the current economic climate they couldn’t afford to hire on full-time employees, so instead of 6 grads they upped it to 12 and are now only paying for housing. Knowing how driven, ambitious, tech-saavy and cheap these new grads are, it is a win-win situation for both parties.  The agency gets cheap labor and the graduates get a once-in-a-lifetime actual agency experience.

Honestly, I think this is a brilliant idea! Althought it is similar to the “Intern” concept, I think it has the potential to be much more serioius for the grads than the typical internship of filing papers.  I know as an intern I was never allowed to work on the BIG clients, nor was I allowed in actual client meetings.

I think Proximity BBDO will get some really relevant, innovative work out of these grads.  It will be exciting to hear how the experience was for both groups.

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