Round 1: Submit a project
In the first round of the process, we ask applicants to submit a creative project. This can be anything they judge to be creative – something that will make us think, “I want the person behind that in this building!” The selection process for this is deliberately blind, and we look at everything.
We always receive a crazy range of work. We’ve had people submit everything from a piñata of a bumble bee to ceramics, a sequinned swimming costume, poetry, novels, screenplays, alter egos, even a video of a woman claiming to be Britain’s fastest crayon-colourer. Last year we had over 2,000 entries, which we went through one by one.
Round 2: The Instagram brief
We narrow these down to the 200 most exciting entrants. Then we set them their first brief to sell something over Instagram. This is because: a) we need a leveller to judge them equally; b) to see if they’re confident enough to publish their idea on Instagram; c) to see if they can actually answer a brief.
In the first year, we bought a 1997 Vauxhall Corsa for £50, parked it below Sea Containers [the building where Ogilvy is based], and challenged the candidates to sell it over Instagram. Once the entries are in, everyone in Ogilvy gets to vote for the top 50.
Round 3: Interviews at Ogilvy
Those 50 then come in for assessment and do speed interviews with people from across the agency, which is the first time we really learn anything about them. In the earlier stages we are looking for a great creative idea, but in the later phase, it’s about ensuring we also have a broad mix of people in that group of 14. We don’t want 13 designers and one writer, for example. We want people with a mix of interests and skills – creative tech, film, photography and so on.
We purposefully have a range of people and backgrounds. But we’ve been very clear over the years that this doesn’t mean excluding some of the people you’d traditionally find in advertising – you’ll still find white male grads on The Pipe – but it’s the mix of everyone together that makes it so special. Diversity of thought.