Highflying WPP digital agency VML, based in Kansas City, Missouri, gave its new class of interns the first-class red-carpet treatment on Monday as they were on-boarded to the agency.
Literally, that is.
The class of 30 interns lined up at an airport, received boarding passes and proceeded to embark on a vintage 1950’s Lockheed Constellation airliner. That baby’s a propeller-driven model that was considered state of the art in its time.
A little background is in order at this point.
VML, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has been headquartered at an airport in Kansas City for 22 of those years. The Charles B. Wheeler Downtown airport, to be precise. It was dedicated by Charles Lindbergh in 1927 and is still going strong today. Must be noisy, but staffers swear they hear themselves think at the office.
How did the shop end up headquartered at an airport, you might be wondering? Well, as you can imagine, a client relationship had something to do with it. Northwest Airlines was one of the agency’s first clients back in the 1990s, when the shop was looking for office space. A deal was struck and that’s where the agency landed (so to speak).
Across from the airport is an airline history museum, from which the agency borrowed the above-mentioned “Connie” airliner. It didn’t actually take off because, well, currently it’s not airworthy. But VML took the kids on a flight—to their future!
Once the interns were on the plane, VML Global CEO and Pilot-For-A-Day Jon Cook gave an inspirational talk about the agency, its history and culture and the exciting life of a career in advertising.
Upon deplaning, the interns descended onto a red carpet surrounded by cheering VMLers. They headed to a mock baggage claim area to collect their work laptops and some agency swag. Then it was off to conference rooms at the shop to begin the more mundane enrollment process.
Oh, and for those who might be wondering if the 25-year-old agency—now that it’s all grown up and expanding like gangbusters around the world—has plans anytime soon to disembark to a quieter HQ setting, the answer is decidedly no. It recently signed a new $17 million, decade-long lease to not only stay put, but expand its current space by about one-third to 100,000 square feet.
So fasten your seat belts interns and welcome to the exciting and boisterous world of advertising! It’s going to be wild ride. But then, that’s what you signed up for, right?