GroupM Recruits Chinese Ad Talent From Reality Show

Bessie-Lee-ARecruiting new talent to Adland has been a challenge in recent years in the U.S. and abroad. Now WPP’s GroupM is taking a new approach to finding it in China. 

The company has launched what it says is the first reality show in the country, called “GroupM Young Power,” streamed on Beijing-based video hosting service Youku.com.

The 10-episode series features 10 young people competing in an elimination-style competition for a full-time position within GroupM or one of its agencies in China. The episodes begin airing June 20 and will be promoted on sites such as Internet portal Tencent, search engine and content provider Sohu and MSN.

“Recruiting talent is a recurring problem faced by all agencies across the advertising industry,” stated Bessie Lee, CEO, GroupM China. The new reality series, she added, is an experiment. “We hope that through this project we can raise the interest level and attract more young people to our industry.” 

GroupM is looking for entry-level talent -- all of the contestants are under the age of 30. The contestants competing in the series were selected from the applicant pool to GroupM’s annual internship program in the region. In the show, the contestants are tasked with carrying out assignments, like client media briefs. The undertakings include conducting consumer insights research for smart TV, proposing a viral marketing scheme for an original design concept store, and creating a social-media activation project for a leading sports brand.

Basic media planning skills, such as how to use competitive reporting tools or how to construct a TV media plan are also being showcased in some episodes.

The shop was able to get some of its top clients to participate, including laptop marketer Lenovo, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and Nike. The series also features some of the stars of the Chinese media agency world, including Hong Huang, CEO of China Interactive Media Group.

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