Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Placements - Golden Opportunity, or Blatant Exploitation?

A placement team, yesterday

I've had a few requests to do a post on the subject of placements, so here it is.

The industry is quite split on the issue.

On the one hand, there's the opinion (quite often held by the old-timers) that it should be a privilege for these kids to come in for two weeks, write some tactical radio ads or shelf-wobblers, and be generally ignored.

On the other hand, there's an equally ridiculous view that placement teams are an abused and down-trodden species, who deserve our support far more than pandas or polar bears do. In fact we should all be marching in the streets to save these emaciated creative geniuses.

And finally there's the (probably most widespread) shrug-of-the-shoulders type response, that while it's an unfair and demeaning system, there probably isn't a better one.

I'm in the last camp. Freakonomics pointed out that people are prepared to work for free (or for very little) in return for the chance to break into the 'glamour' industries of music, fashion, film etc.

We in advertising are only a second-tier glamour profession. Nevertheless, for as long as there are people prepared to be paid a pittance to get in, that is what the pay will be. Don't blame me. Blame whoever invented economics.

I actually don't think it's such a bad deal. Placement teams get free training (crits) whereas in a lot of industries you have to pay for training. You don't have to 'know the right people' like you do in some fields - our industry is pretty open and meritocratic. Placement teams aren't given a manservant to run a bath for them, but they're generally not treated badly by Agencies. They're certainly not ragged-on like a young 'un in a shipyard would be. And apparently even the wages aren't as bad as they used to be.

But what do I know. If you're on placement, tell me what it's like. Is it a fair deal, or a swizz?

And if you have an idea for a better system, tell us that too.


George said...

Keep it the way it is. If you are good, you will get picked up. And it probably won't take that long if you book is good. Even in the current climate. In fact, perhaps even more in this climate. Junior teams are cheaper than senior teams.

Ben Kay said...

There are far, far, far worse ways to spend some time than as an advertising creative placement.

i know it's easy to say that once you're in, but people seem to compare its ill-paid degradation to the alternative of life as Megan Fox's bra.

It's not perfect, but then it's not exactly cleaning sewers or being a jizz-mopper in a porn theatre.

A little perspective might be handy.

Anonymous said...

6 months internship, 400 euros/month. exploitation or just "a good opportunity to prove yourself" ?

Anonymous said...

Apart from the money, I think I preferred being on placement.

It was exciting and you had to work unreasonably hard or you could be gone in the next review.

You felt like god when you got stuff through, or after flirting with the CD's PA - before you were told how many guys were hanging out the back of it.

And you didn't give a shit about politics and the sniveling cocks hellbent on making everything less good. You suspected they may well be cocks back then, but surviving on ideas was the only thing that mattered.

That and finding something to eat.

Tony said...

I did a placement once and of course I was being ignored, underpaid, etc but that's exactly why it worked:

1. Being ignored means no meetings, no phone calls, no emails, no distractions. (Ask anyone with jobs and they'll kill to have that).

2. You get to play the 'i didn't know that' card. (work in briefs no one has given you, present media the client didn't ask for, go completely nuts).

3. Whatever good ideas you do gets 10 times the attention it deservers because NO ONE EXPECTS ANYTHING HALF DECENT FROM YOU.

4. Being underpaid is better than being unemployed.

I think the problem is when you assume yourself as a placement team. Play by the rules and you're fucked.

You should think of yourself as the creative with more freedom of the whole department because you are.

(Of course this only works if you do a placement in a good agency but, why do a placement anywhere else).

Anonymous said...

I thought the national minimum wage also applied to placements, so there shouldn't be such a thing as unpaid placements any more? Seems to me as long as they get the minimum wage and a load of free training, it's not a bad deal. Generous-spirited agencies could pay the travel and lunch expenses too, I guess. I'm boring myself writing this.

Adam Richardson said...

I say it's a fair deal, I never would have landed a job without placements.

There's such a huge gap between the standard of creative that uni's produce and the standard needed to be competent in the industry, placements fill this gap.

I almost saw placements sorting the men from the boys, I knew many people who did a few placements then gave up, and perhaps they wouldn't have been good in the industry and would have left anyway?

Working in agencies for free for a year or so wasn't fun at times but if I was to go back I'd do it all over again without a doubt.

Anonymous said...

'Junior teams are cheaper than senior teams'

Says it all really about the way in which agencies see placement teams...

The '99p shop' item, it'll do, until it breaks then we'll just get rid...

Mike said...

I like it...

Meh, the pays not great, it's adequate.

The days are long, the nights longer - if you want them to be,

The work is relentless.

The process of crits will never end.

It's fun... I say this to all my friends to turn up their noses to the fact that we work all day long and only get paid pittance for the hours we put in... then meet us over the weekend and moan about how unsatisfied they are in there jobs and how 'samey' it all is.

It is fun, yes, there are probably jobs out there that are far easier in terms of workload - and effort required to get a payoff - but a lot of them seem quite dull, day in day out - the same thing. Apart from turning up to the office first thing each day seems to be different, for us anyway, It a great feeling nailing a brief with a killer idea.

If you're willing to put yourself through all this - then you're obviously driven enough to make something of it, it's not exactly something you do because it's 'cool' - 'easy' or 'it will get me laid'

(I'd be surprised if there weren't testaments to each of these)

When everyone has to go through more or less the same process I think it's fair enough.

There's always the factory line?

Anonymous said...

They choose to be emaciated. So their skinny jeans fit.

Anonymous said...

The only time you should feel sorry for a placement team is when they're lead on to believe that they're going to be hired, then ditched at the last minute.

I can't see any other major bad side, the job IS worth it.

But agencies could make more of an effort to be blunt. Everyone abuses competent placement teams to shovel the shit, who are only ever given clear indications as to wether they'll be hired if the placement team before them was strung along for half a year.

jpandtem@googlemail.com said...

you could always offer us one, then you could be sure you'd get a definitive answer?
in the meantime, how was your holiday?

robin said...

I agree with you Scamp.And welcome back - was 2-weeks of no0net painful?

I work in advertising and for a while wanted to be in film.
And found out I knew very little about the process.
In fact, the only way was to start at the bottom - work and learn at the same time.

What's interesting is a current view propounded by several people including RObin Wight.
It advocates that ad agencies should look beyond the traditional fields in recruiting. So, maybe we look to people in banking, hotel,whatever.

While I do agree that we should cast the net wider, I am against the idea of recruiting someone just because (s)he is not from advertising.

That seems to penalize the poors art school saps who already have a hard time trying to land a job as it is.

I mean if all the rage is going to be on non-advertising people, why even have art schools?

Agencies should recruit people who have the potential. Not because they LOOK/COME FROM a different background.

]-[appy Thought said...

A lot of the best directors and editors began as runners. Starting at the bottom and working up is essential. Hopefully it'll beat out all the crap you "learn" at uni or college that isn't right anyway.

your mum. said...

I don't think the system itself is bad, but I do think the remuneration is.

Most teams will have done some kind of course (between 1 and 3 years). So although the vast majority won't be ready for their first job they will be at a stage where they'll get placements and be working on briefs. They'll probably crack a few too. Certainly most the teams that come through our place do.

Then the comparison of how much the agency makes versus placement team is unavoidable.

I'm not saying they need huge sums, but a lot of big agencies are still paying less tax £200 a week before tax. London's expensive and we should be paying placements enough to get by.

I heard D&AD recommended agencies pay £250 a week and put teams on freelance after three months (this was about 4 years ago and I couldn't see anything on their website now). I think that's fair. You can live on that and you know how good someone is after three months.

With regards to people's attitudes towards placements, I sometimes wonder if our indifference to change anything is actually founded in a kind of protectionism. Once we've got our job we want to keep the status quo, because it's a pretty sweet compared to most careers.

GOUT-LEGS said...

the thing that makes the placement system great is that you can guarantee that pretty much every person in your creative department wants to be there, or at least, wants to be a creative.
because of the blood, sweat and tears, it's something you choose to do. and, with a little hard work and sacrifice you may end up doing it.
it's not like any of the other jobs in our industry, you don't just fall into it because banking didn't work out?
and i think that element of character building is important, though i would not pay a placement team the 50 sheets a week i received, they'd get half decent money(credit crunch aside) and a shot at any brief they wanted.
i think DT wrote a thing about "it's out there, you just have to grab it"...and i agree.

Anonymous said...

Placements are a tricky topic.

We like the attitude of some agencies, like BBH, they only take on a team on placement if they are thinking about hiring them, so there are no dead ends, it all depends on you. We also like what W+K is doing with placements: getting a creative team to do something besides advertising,
we made a short film there for example (together with working on real briefs of course).

When we started at Lowe, we got this piece of advice:
The best thing ever, you come in, and you know what the CD expects of you. Perfect!

We wouldn't go on an unpaid placement, unless the agency was really great.

We don't like the uncertainty with placements, you have to wait until the last day to find out if you stay on or not. They also seem to be quite short. In Germany for example placements or internships last 3-6 months, which is much more interesting.

We don't like agencies taking on placement teams to get cheap workforce, instead of teaching young creatives and giving them a chance to join the industry.

MrMann said...

Agreed, a creative placement isn't the worst thing you could be asked to do. We've been out of uni since last summer and are currently in our fifth month of our fifth placement. We expect to to sit on the bench before breaking into the first team.

Could it be done better?

As mentioned, fashion is a tough industry to get into. Step up Sir Philip Green, owner of Arcadia group. To ensure they get the best young people he's teamed up with Next, M&S etc. to open the Fashion Retail Academy. Here the industries future employees learn how to hit the ground running. Everyone's a winner

Would this work for our industry? If adland's big hitters unite to form an 'academy' then talent would be on-tap, ready to work at a junior level.

Are places like Creative Orchestra already forming this kind of venture?

Anonymous said...

What about...

-Abolish two week placements. You can't do sweet feck all in two weeks. Who are we kidding??? If somebody's want to know about agency life, tell them that there's an agency open day on the first Monday of every month. And there's a brief for them to do. They've until the end of the day to do it.

-A Month for at least minimum wage.
(CD has seen something in you or your book. That deserves something in return. At least, in four weeks you might get work presented to client).

-6 months contract should start at least 16k.
(CD has defo seen something in you. If you hack the pace, constantly get work presented and are lucky enough to get work bought you'll more than likely be kept on. At that point, CD's should review your wages and offer another 6 month contract. This is where you need to return on their investment, and get work produced more frequently.

Our problem is that there's no union or proper structure to the industry. I'd genuinely love to know how many Creatives have no degrees/pgrads in graphic design, language, communication etc. It is after all a business. Like apprentices in Law or accounting. The beauty of theses jobs is that every year, their wages go up automatically and when they 'finish', their wages jump dramatically.

Could we have a one year 'Creative Chances/Apprenticeship' type thingy??? That way, the Creatives would know where they stand, and negotiations could take place. "Should I stay or should I go now?".

Elizabeth said...

What is wrong with paying people minimum wage though? I don't have rich parents so I can't actually afford to work for free. On placement you should really work until at least seven too or people might not think you "want it enough" so that puts pay to getting a bar job to cover costs in the evening too. VCCP have the right idea - they take teams in on two week placements, and pay them minimum wage so everyone is happy. You still have to be good to get in. But you don't have to be good AND rich.

minces said...

It's a weird industry, you learn by making, not studying.
I think the problem is, that the creative schools are unable to provide real advertising experiences.
I missed your blog,

Mike the Yankee in London said...

I have just recently completed two placements, one at JWT and Saatchi & Saatchi and I have two more lined up at Fallon and McCann. While it is competitive and your only in these agencies for a blink, it is a great opportunity to learn mor about yourself, meet some great people, feel out which agency is right or you and really map out a proactive positive approach to future goals. I only wish the USA agencies and offices had structured work placement schemes.

Latou said...

I agree that it's good enough as a system.

But what do you chaps recommend if you're already working (in PR, sadly) and can't afford to work for free due to pesky things such as bills.

Are you basically fooked?

Nick said...

The three weeks we spent as placement was very worthwhile. Sure we didn't have the lead on any accounts, and sure we smashed our piggy-banks to be able to go to london to work "for free".

But we drank a lot of free coffee, worked hard and probably learnt more than we would've after a semester at uni. If you don't learn anything as placement, you're probably not cutout to be in advertising.

For the finances - bad
For the learning - awesome!

Anonymous said...

Don't get me wrong I enjoy doing placements, i like meeting greeting people in the industry and i don't mind the little pay as long as it is enough to survive off with the help of a part time job at weekend.

But this is how its is

£200 Good wage, enough for travel and rent and to live a little with the help of a part time job.

£150 - Just around enough to survive with a part time job but scrapping the barrel a little.

£100 - Not enough to cover rent or travel. Shit.

Your travel cost - now that is tight, what the fuck you ment to live off.

Not everyone has rich mummy's and daddies, and many people trying to get in the industry aren't from London. You can only work 80 - 90 weeks untill you burn out and then you are no good to anyone.

Anonymous said...

the biggest issue with placements that i've observed is that when they are just not up to it, they take criticism or ambivalence as some sort of bias, arrogance or vendetta (ie it's everyone else's fault other than their own).
they need to be taught that a degree at watford/west herts doesn't mean they will get a job, and that some of them will never cut it no matter how much they beg, spend all day and night in an office, and make novelty portfolio bags.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

If you spend time looking at the cost of ad training, I think its fair to say that payment in training makes placements a pretty fair deal.

Its the laws of supply and demand. Supply vaaaastly outweighs demand, so prices come down.

Anonymous said...

i used to work in a big agency running graduate recruitment and desperately wanted to take on some very talented people from diverse backgrounds to train in the creative dept (as individuals not teams). we used to meet some brilliantly talented writers (mainly) who would have been fantastic additions to the creative dept. there was an amazing backlash from within the dept though (with the exception of one CD).
Who's to say that a great art student from st martins and a bright english graduate (for example) couldn't be trained to become a great team under the guidance of senior creatives even if they had never met each other. most of the 'teams' who meet in college often end up working together by accident anyway. i think that the reason the creative depts in some agencies are getting a bit stagnant is that they all take on the same sort of teams from the same places who have been trained in the same ways (visual metaphors etc). some of the best teams i've worked with didn't come from that route at all.

Anonymous said...

I think the one thing that would make a big difference is if a time limit was imposed - two months or something. That must be long enough to decide if you're good enough. After that - out the door, or a job with proper pay. There needs to be some kind of regulation.

I did one placement where I was led to believe there might be a job at the end of it. But when it came down to it, the company wasn't in a financial position to hire anyone. It's not cos I'm shit, by the way - I do genuinely - possibly naively - believe this to be the reason. Anyway, I wouldn't have wasted my time if I'd known.

The next placement which I did get a job out of, lasted 6 months which, although I have limited grounds for comparison, does seem a bit excessive. They dropped hints from quite early on that I'd get a job - but I can see why there's little motivation to put you on a proper salary when you can be strung along indefinitely.

Also - all the while you have this feeling of uncertainty about whether you'll be out on the street again in a week's time, you are working your ass off - which is exhausting over sustained periods of time.

Anonymous said...

I don't really have a problem with placements per se - they can be a great opportunity, and they definitely helped me decide what I wanted to do in my early twenties.

The main issue is that it does restrict entry to the types of people that can afford to do unpaid work. And I'm not sure if there's any correlation between creative genius and having a supportive / wealthy family.

Maybe there could be tweaks to the system, but I don't think I have the answer...

Anonymous said...

Totally depends.

I know Bmb pay £100 a week. I think that is taking the piss really.

The way i see it is like this, placements should last between a minimum of a month. 2 weeks is fuck all, it's ok for work experience, but not long enough to gain any real knowledge.

There should be a minimum placement wage that ALL agencies agree too, £250 would be fair rate i feel. It is great to be in an agency and yes placement teams are quite lucky to be in an agency, but it doesn't mean you should be on a ridiculous wage. Apparently rainy kelly were paying around £70 a week (although i'm not sure anymore).

I've heard that the better agencies like BBH and Fallon are more particular in who they give a placement to, if at all. I reckon this is the ebst way as if they give you a placement, they're saying there's a good chance you might land a job.

Anonymous said...

I think [name of individual] is a good example of this and im not bringing this up in a bullying way or a condescending way (but you put yourself out there to be judged).

He's from a wealthy family and maybe thats why he can afford to be on placement for 3 years?

I like a lot of people moved straight into london after college with a few mates and we were all completely skint. But we worked really fucking hard and all had jobs, good jobs within a year.

I think the placement system to an extent, works as a bit of a shit filter...

Anonymous said...

How many placementeers are at BBH at the moment Scamp? Or is that telling? We've got none here because we have a similar "no placement without chance of job" policy, and seeing as we can't hire anyone we've got no fresh blood coming in. Seems like having placement guys in keeping things fresh was as useful to us as it was them

Unknown said...

You all realize that there's nothing close to the placement system in the US.

The current path calls for spending four years at a traditional college or university followed by a two-year stint at one of the numerous ad schools that have cropped up.

Talk about rich parents.

While it's true that there are scholarships and the ad schools make an attempt to bring in deserving students who can't afford it, they're mostly filled by kids whose parents can pay the full bill, which can be as much as $20K/year if not more.

Now the idea of a paid internship is still a new one, so they're lucky to see any cash at all during the internships they may do while at school or immediately thereafter.

With all it's flaws, I think the UK placement system is a much better deal all around

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.12am.
I think you are missing the point. I'm not saying that the senior teams should all get axed in favour of the cheaper alternative, merely that a young and very good team will cost a fraction of your average senior team.

Dave Trott once commented on this - for the same money, you could get 5 graduate teams or 1 high profile senior team? He'd go for the juniors every time. They have something to prove, and on the whole, the senior team does not.

Anonymous said...

@ 1.41

Not sure who you are or at what stage of your career you're at, but you sound v. bitter...

...particularly singling out one specific college, Watford.

What about Saint Martins? Or Bucks?
I've met arrogant people from there.

Perhaps you went to one of the above, hence the Watford hang-up?

Anonymous said...

1.40pm - If they work 80 or 90 weeks without getting picked up, then I suspect they will never get picked up.

A placement team could do a lot worse than read Dave Trott's blog. He has many many tips to get hold of the good briefs when on a placement - getting friendly with planners, chatting up the creative secretary, or even just asking for them.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a self-perpetuating myth that if you don't last the pace, or don't accept awful pay for working til 3am every night (then work on your folio) then you can't hack it, or you're not a fun person....& everyone else that earns more for less slave labour in 'boring' civillian jobs is just crazy & or disinteresting.

I've heard plenty of Creatives (Placement teams up to Seniors) complain about their long hours, their relatively poor pay & having to deal with Accounts.

It nonsense. It's designed to make Juniors more accepting of their fate (sh*t pay for long hours) so that agencies can squeeze work out of them cheaply, or even for free.
It's also designed to make them feel worthless if they don't make it, as if something is wrong with them when, really, their thinking is perfectly rational...why am I doing all of this for so little reward.

Anonymous said...

Try and get on the D&AD workshop. If accepted, take a big fat loan against your current salary. Build up a decent book, quit your job, and start ringing around for placements.

that french saying said...

I spent over £12,000 on an education that I didn't need in order to get my job.

Yeah, I enjoyed University and yes I did learn, but my degree (English) was absolutely minimal in terms of what it contributed to me finally getting a job in advertising.

Now, if I'd got a bank loan and gone straight on the placement circuit when I was 19 or 20, I'd have spent less money, wasted less time and learnt loads more.

Basically, I guess I'm saying placements are good. The learning process in an agency is just much greater than anything you can study.

If I could go back, I'd spend £4 or £5k on supporting myself and working for zip as opposed to flittering £12k on a degree.

Anonymous said...


Thats probably why american advertising is so 'Whack'.

Anonymous said...

When I was on placement back in the early 90's, I got paid peanuts for the best part of 6 months.

However, I robbed the agency blind of tea-bags, bog roll, beer, wine, bread, layout pads, pens, stationary and pretty much anything else that wasn't screwed to the floor or wall.

Fairs fair.

Anonymous said...

the uk placement system might be a good thing, if the agencies pay enough to survive. wal mentioned germany and their system. it is not good at all! 6 months for 400 euros/month. try to survive with that. it is not possible. could it get any worse? why hire someone, if you can get good people (who often already have experience) doing decent work for almost free? and after their time is up, there are more than enough who are happy to work their ass off for the next six months. it is ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

to 3.18 and the accusations of bitterness

i didn't realise they were the same place. i think they are all shit. i shuold have written 'watford/ bucks/ etc'

i'm 11 years in, and didn't go to any of those places you mentioned. i went to a proper university.

j said...

I definitely support the idea of placements. Yes it is bordering exploitation but I think most students, grads see it as a golden opportunity, especially in good agencies.

On the other hand, some agencies do actually take the piss. In my time (about 4 years ago), rainey kelly did indeed pay us 70-80quid a week. And that is meant to be our travel expenses and you have to produce receipts. So if you ride a bike in, sorry, you are a moron. I remember we went round scavaging for travel cards and receipts come fridays. To be fair, if you get work out (whether a radio, a poster or a shitty magazine cover) you get 50quid each per piece.

Most of the placements we got are pretty decent. at least 150 quid. I remember going into another agency and after 6 weeks and helping them win a pitch, we asked for a bit more money... somewhere in the region of 200 and it took them 2 weeks to tell us no, they can't afford it.

I also know of a placement team at the DDB who won a pencil for them during their guardian days and didn't get hired. But then again, DDB is famous for putting teams on one year placements and letting them go when they have had enough fun with them.

Anonymous said...

oh, and i forgot: what does it say about the qualities of an agency, if they exploit their interns? BTW, the same applies to any other company out there. 3:58

Anonymous said...

Although I am reasonably au fait on how the placement system works in the UK, (and even more so thanks to this blog), I can only comment on the way it works in Australia which is a bit different and may offer some comparison. In Australia if it was on-premises it'd be called 'work experience' if it were unpaid or a token payment made. If it was a more structured time at the agency it'd be an internship where about 1/3 - 1/2 the average junior wage would be paid for a couple of months, but these are very rare. (And non-existent at the moment).

More often than not a CD will give a live brief to wannabe juniors to take away and if they're lucky the CD will see them again and look at the work. Usually this is unpaid unless the work is presented to or sold to the client (and even then you'd be lucky to be paid) but it gives you access to the agency and you can in theory then say you've freelanced for them. Do a few of these and suddenly you have quite a few freelance stints under your belt on paper, often at top ten agencies. This allows teams to still work at their day jobs while doing work for their book.

The drawback of this is that you don’t get regular feedback/criticism of work and it’s hard for an agency or make a judgment on whether you will fit into their culture etc. Also it’d probably be illegal to pay 20-somethings UK-equivalent placement wages so handing out briefs to get kids to work on them for free gets around this. Unfortunately it’s not an ideal system and more often than not abused by agencies, but that doesn’t stop the hordes coming in the door and moe often than not most of these junior teams have decent books – it’s more a case of being in the right place at the right time.

Anonymous said...

I think if your good enough to get a placement at a decent agency you should at least be given minimum wage. I have been to a number of places where they just give you travel expenses, others that give you sod all. Many agencies also seem to treat the better placement teams as a source of cheap freelance.

Anonymous said...

its actually illegal not to pay at least the minimum wage for placements but seeming as graduates would kill each other for one no one seems to complain. Maybe it would be a good idea to pay teams nothing but give them a bonus if they get work produced - say £300 or something then they cant complain if they don't make anything as you could say they should have worked harder.

Anonymous said...

4.09- shame your 'proper university' didn't teach you how to spell...

Lauren Rebecca Hurst said...

They separate the people who deserve to be in the industry and people who won't bring anything to it.

We're moving down to London in July, to hopefully work on a placement and we'll be working the evenings or weekends to earn some money to live. This is how hard we're willing to work to get where we want to be.

If it was easy, people would get the wrong impression of what is required when they actually land themselves a job.

Anonymous said...

RE: 4:59PM

What happens if the clients are shit and not buying things quicker than they should do?

Say it takes 4 bloody weeks for the client to pull their thumb out of their arse and say 'that's good I'll buy it'


What happens if their are no briefs and getting onto existing briefs again leaves you waiting for weeks

So they could be out of pocket for 4 weeks with no rent money etc.

And once the client does buy it, how long before HR finish playing solitaire or thumbing their Blackberry and pay up?

Being payed extra if you get work bought is fair but not being paid unless you get work out is far from being fair.

M32 said...

It's obvious.

Today's grad spends far too much time posting other people's creative work up onto their own blog and then post comments like...

"Man this is so cool. Look how many times someone crossed Abbey road and pretended to be a Beatle".

Why don't they just turn off their mac's until they get hired.

Once they get hired, they can spend their entire career on blogs like this, telling people like scamp that he knows nothing about football. Or women.

Also, why do teams go "freelance" after one failed placement?


Anonymous said...

Look at me! I am willing to bend over, swallow and do it all over again just so that I can tell my posh mates at the pub that I worked for [insertagencyhere]. I live in a tent outside the park, eat the scraps of food people throw away and generally can't spend money on clothing, shoes, cinema, girl/boyfriend or whatever else joy I could get out of my life. My first question is "how much does it cost?" and if it's anything more than 10p I can't be arsed. And just because my life is so goddamn sweet, I can still keep smiling to the CD who comes to work in his brandnew BMW convertible and the big titted blond woman sitting next to him. But I work. I work hard. I work day and night, on the weekends, basically I live to work for almost nothing! That's how good a person I am. Money doesn't mean much to me, because in today's modern society, all you need is love, friendship, AND HARD WORK FOR FREE, ain't that right?

Jesus christ. Get some fucking dignity. People once had revolutions about being forced into slave labor...

Anonymous said...

6:07 that you are looking forward to being exploited is certainly not required to do a good job. do you think you will be able to do the best you can and grow, if you have to work during the weekends and evenings aside? just to pay the bills? it doesn't matter how hard you want to work. you are only human. you need some rest. and you deserve it. if your employer wants you to do a great job, they have to pay you an amount of money that puts you in the position to survive. the end.

]-[appy Thought said...

@ French saying

I hear that dude, if I could guarantee that I could meet my partner and happen get told the basics by Dave Trott over 3 years and not done it at uni, I wouldn't have bothered either. Wishing you knew what you know now, then.

I think that some agencies use the crap pay as some kind of initiation or test? I don't know if anyone can corroborate it, but I was told a tale of G. Fink leaving MC Saatchi after a hard day at the office to find a placement guy lying on bench nearby. When he inquired to said placementeer as to his business being on said bench he mentioned that the money MC was paying him was not enough to afford rent. Mr Fink gave him a job the next day.

When it comes to getting paid, graduates also need to remember that if they make the average base wage of £15k or so, that makes them a £30k team, so they have to be worth £30k right out of university. Tall order, but once we realized that it helped us up our game when we went job-hunting.

Anonymous said...

I remember being at an agency on Charlotte street, and we cracked a brief no one could crack within a week.

The rest of the placement teams would come in early and bring coffee in for their insecure, small penis seniors and generally suck dick until 9.30.

Me and my art director would be on time and get on with the work, yet there wasn't a secure person we spoke to in 4 weeks.

All widget-minded and happy to have muppets around them that hanged onto their every word.

We didn't get paid, yet didn't see any good work from any of the paid placement teams.

If you crack stuff and get work out ... sometimes you become a threat.

I'm at an agency now, before you ask.

A good system but its being abused more than ever right now.

Rob and Tom said...

The UK internship system may be tough but it's nothing compared to what they're doing in Malaysia.

Check it out.

Anonymous said...

The salary a young team gets when finally hired is more insulting than the pittance on placement.

Graduate trainee suits are paid far more and they tend to spend the first year shadowing people in various departments.

Creative teams start earning the agency money immediately.

Surely there should at least be parity.

Anonymous said...

I went to art center college of design and got my bfa there. it was four years, it was expensive as hell ($15,000 3x p.a.) but the instructors were stellar, gave a crap about me and I graduated with a good book that got me my first gig at an agency I am still happy to have worked at. I never did internships or placements. it's a hellish expensive route and choosing the wrong college will really hurt you but it was worth it for me.

I feel sorry for the kids who have to do placements. agencies don't owe them any help, they're just trying to see if you're a good worker bee they could hire for next to nothing. I doubt the kids will get anything out of it beyond the happy accident and a campaign nobody else had the time to work on.

but this is how it is and complaining doesn't make it any better. so suck it up, do it and try to get through.

andymarkpeel said...

The worst bit about placements is the unknown. Not knowing where you'll be in a week, a month, a year. Holidays, day trips, generally anything in advance doesn't exist. The placement comes first.

We've done a few placements, between 170-250 a week, we turned down a freebie and never know where the next money is coming from.

It makes you grow as a person I guess. Experience the real world. I still wouldn't change what we do.

brake dollinge said...

it's simple maths. there's an amount of money available to pay placement teams. you can either give ten teams one month on fresh air and buttons, or pay one team minimum wage for three months while the other nine kick about doing knacker all, wasting their potential and probably going mad on the crack.

I think I can guess which most students and tutors would prefer.

of course, it would be just super if the creative directors and senior teams all took a pay cut to stump up a decent wedge for them, but the time when turkeys vote for turkey-buggering tuesdays is not yet at hand.

Anonymous said...

its old news the placement post scamp. but i'd like a way for placement teams and recent people to name and shame agencies.

i'd like to publicly say that [ ] and [ ] were the worst of the group. [Please put your name to this criticism, or at least give reasons for it. Scamp]and Lean Mean Fighting Machine were the very best.

Anonymous said...

As a working class graduate with no ties in London I couldn't afford the £100/week rent, and £25/week travelcard expenses on placement change. Then there's bills, tax, student loans, and not to forget food!

I did my placements up north, one even paid me a full junior wage! After I got a handful of agencies on my CV I was offered a short term contract in a large agency in London where I still am now, officially on the payroll.

Anonymous said...

As a fine art student interested in advertising as a career, these comments are quite off putting!

Tom Harvey said...

My partner and I are in the process of handing in our last pieces of work to complete our 3 year advertising degree. We've recently finished a placement at EHS Brann where we were treated as junior creatives and were never asked to make anyone tea and coffee.

The senior creatives, CDs and the agency in general welcomed us in for 3 weeks as part of the team. We really felt at home during our stay and as a result we produced some really good work which is being brought forward to the client this week.

We also received valuable honest feedback on our folio which we have taken on board to improve it further.

I think if the 'fresh' approach from placement teams is respected and harnessed, agencies could find that they could benefit greatly in welcoming in placement teams.

Hooper & Harvey are hot off the press on 19th May once we hand in dissertations.



Anonymous said...

to 4.09

watford/west herts runs a POSTGRAD course.

James Cooper said...

I think placements are pretty good for one thing - you working out if you want to be a creative and / or have the skills.

It's simple enough to do three years at college but nothing prepares you for the reality.

It's harsh but I think you either have it or you don't. I've seen books from teams that have been at college for 3 years and you know instantly that they will never make it. The only way you will ever truly know is doing a placement.

I did a placement, 6 months at 25 quid a week. That was in 96. I didn't get a job although that might be more to do with being sick in my office and falling asleep under my desk - but I did get the appetite and based on what I saw around me knew I could come up with decent ideas.

Lauren Paris Cautley. said...

I think placements are a valuable chapter of an advertising students life. As it's been said many times before in comments above. There's a lot to be learnt within agency walls that you can't learn at uni or reading books. And if it means being paid next to nothing so be it. Surely it should be the experience and the education you gain from being at the placement that is the payment rather than the money value of it. I think placements are fine the way they are and don't need to be questioned. As long as people are still looking for placements they will continue to exist. After that i don't really know.

Anonymous said...

How creative teams should be produced.


Anonymous said...

Were on placement now at a top agency, they pay is Okay - but not great. We really enjoy working here as its pretty cool and laidback.

But we havent been given a proper brief in weeks.
It feels like no one trusts the placement teams here to actually produce good work.

How can placement teams impress and work hard when there is no work to do? there is only so much pestering we can do...

Anonymous said...

which agency is that?