Summer Internships Are Revamped Amid Health Crisis

As they grapple with furloughs, salary reductions and possible layoffs, some agency leaders are adding summer internship programs to their list of cutbacks. While many admit they are still working through their official decisions, several are proactively calling it quits.

StrawberryFrog’s paid TadPoles Intern program, which has already received over 800 applications, is now postponed until the fall or winter 2021.

However not all students interested in advertising will be without work this summer. Even those shops canceling their own programs, including MullenLowe, will keep their commitments to the 4As Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP), which recently announced plans to shift to a virtual engagement program instead of the standard in-person apprenticeships.

The 4As says specific details about this digital experience are still in the planning stages, but the 400+ finalists will be reviewed by the organization and matched with participating agencies for the program’s June 1 to August 9 schedule.



Digitas, Edelman, Omnicom Health Group, VMLY&R and Horizon are among the agencies participating in the 4As program this summer. 

Separately, Digitas parent company Publicis Groupe says it will also honor other previous intern commitments “wherever it can do so,” via virtual experience and mentorship connections, reports an agency representative.

Meanwhile, WPP’s VMLY&R will host an alternative summer program for aspiring creatives titled “Nexus.” The 10-week virtual masterclass series will teach 50 aspiring professionals about categories such as brand marketing, strategic planning, customer experience, and social media strategy. Each 90-minute session will be taught by high-level executives, including global CEO Jon Cook and global CMO Beth Wade.

The program will also include personalized mentor matches, resume and portfolio reviews, access to an alumni network, and virtual cultural and wellness programming.

Upon completion of at least eight seminars, interns will be provided with a letter of accreditation and social badge for use in their portfolios, resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Participants will also be eligible for a position in the agency’s in-office Summer 2021 internship program. Last year, more than 2,500 students applied for the internship program.

“While we will be unable to host in-office internships this year, we want to offer value and continual learning for this group of emerging talent. We’re so excited to introduce VMLY&R’s Nexus masterclass and welcome these students to learn and, someday, join our organization,” said Ronnie Felder, chief people officer of VMLY&R. “Being virtual has long been a part of our business – and in our new COVID-19 reality, we’re thrilled to be able to give back to our student ad community in a new way.”


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