Deutsch LA 'D-Preps' The Traditional Internship Program

Havas WW Chicago had its interns apply via Instagram. 72andSunny has set up 72U, a creativity incubator where interns live together in a house during its 12-week residency. And Mother New York even unleashed a creepy stalker to recruit its summer interns. 

Now, Deutsch LA is developing D-Prep, its own digital SWAT team to redefine the traditional summer internship program.

"Rather than just bringing talented creatives in-house and asking them to concept social media posts, we want them to spend their time here making things," says Andy Pearson, vice president and dreative director, Deutsch LA. "Making what? That's part of the experiment."

D-Prep features 10 entry-level people from all backgrounds: creatives, designers, developers and makers to shadow its staff and perform actual work on behalf of Deutsch clients. "Some of the program will be about getting experience on live client briefs," says Pearson. "But the other half of the program will be focused on creative sprints—moving from brief to concept to prototype quickly. To do that, we're looking to assemble a SWAT team of 10 people from all different backgrounds who have that maker mentality. Writers, art directors, designers, developers, inventors, artists, whomever.”

Ultimately, said Pearson, “we want to help them make work that will make them famous."

Still, D-Prep is designed to be a well-rounded experience. "It's reflective of who we are as an agency," says Pearson. "We have a massive in-house digital team who handles everything from strategy to creative to production. That includes an internal group called Inventioni.st who serve as a nimble product innovation lab for our brands and non-clients alike. We've taken bits from that program to create D-Prep."

Still, this program is a radical change from previous internships at the agency. For one, it is more heavily reliant on organic word-of-mouth. "We've spread the word on social media before, but this time it seemed to really spread organically through different schools and networks. It was interesting to see where all the applicants came from," says Pearson. 

Even the application process is a bit different by specifically seeking non-traditional candidates. The questions certainly were unique. One asked applicants to interpret an emoji story. "Because we put an emphasis on idea people and makers, we've seen a broad spectrum of people interest, from digital creatives to tech people to film directors to people who are making crazy robotic art things," says Pearson. 

Thus far, the agency has received more than 300 applicants, and about 10% of them specifically applied simply because of the application.

It remains to be seen if this new application process and program will extend to its traditional job process. "We've always looking for people who think this way. This is hopefully just the start," says Pearson.

"Emoticon or Emoji Icons"photo from Shutterstock.

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