The One Club for Creativity created the Paid Internship Pledge to create positive change and correct inequity created by isolating young talent that cannot afford to participate in an unpaid internship due to their background or systemic disadvantage. The One Club has committed to only supporting paid internships at a reasonable minimum wage level and has asked agency partners to take the pledge with them.
This goes against an ingrained culture in the working world that everyone who has made it to the top had to hustle and grind to get there when they were young, and so that is just how it is. This campaign needed to address the cognitive dissonance regarding unpaid internships and “starving artists” and show that barely getting by only seems fun and nostalgic when you are not in the middle of it. However, it needed to do so while also acknowledging and validating the experiences of senior professionals in the industry and the valuable learning opportunities that come with internships.
To tackle this problem and find a solution, our team explored a variety of copy and visual solutions that touched on the human truths and deep-rooted beliefs associated with the reasoning for unpaid internships. These solutions then had to show that it was time for a societal change in conducting internships. After concepting several solutions, we decided to illustrate the relatable, intimate moments where you simply do not have enough to get by with short spots. These spots are here to remind senior-level professionals how vulnerable and frustrating barely getting by can be and that they have the power to change that. This is the Pay Your Interns campaign:
A simple solution to a complex culture. Internships, even unpaid, are immensely valuable in helping young talent learn their craft and break into the advertising industry, but that does not negate the need for payment. This campaign seeks to address this disconnect and show that interns need experience, but they also need money. So, simply put, pay your interns.
This campaign received the Best Social Campaign Award from a panel of over 50 creative professionals judging SMU Portfolio Night during Fall 2021.