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New Initiative Helps Future AdPeople
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Youth unemployment is at its highest around the world, and it is still hard to get a large number of talented young people in advertising. With the reviews the industry receives from the media, politics, and consumer groups, it is not too surprising that many would not want to jump into a profession that constantly seems under attack.

But thankfully there is a movement that is looking to turn that trend around while helping create opportunity. There is an initiative in London called Commercial Break, and its goal is to introduce advertising to young adults between the ages of 18–19 from colleges all over London who are from underprivileged backgrounds. It was announced that the initiative has created a "pop-up" agency and has been given a brief for its agency to work on.

The brief is from Ubisoft, the gaming company behind Asassin's Creed and Splinter Cell. The brief involves providing creative support for a game Ubisoft is launching in the fall. The agency has eight spots to fill, and thirty students applied.

The leaders behind this effort hope to secure paid internships from agencies around the country. 

This concept of bringing up youth from underprivileged backgrounds isn't new. U.S. Men's soccer coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, spoke about how in Europe organizations made efforts to introduce soccer (or football) into underprivileged neighborhoods to not only give them something to do, but also to provide an outlet for them to get out of their current situations. In London, it looks like they are applying that same concept. They are giving students a chance to dabble in advertising; a chance they may not have had before.

We occasionally blow our horn about the lack of diversity in AdLand in the United States, mainly because it's obvious that not many others will. But we see this concept as a way to change the script. Why can't the 4A's or ANA, instead of giving the industry a fantastic amount of lip service, use the resources it has and create an initiative like Commercial Break? We know Advertising Week is trying to create something like this, but on a more general, youth-centric, scale.

If advertising can truly change the way we look at the world and its issues, the industry should take a serious look at its outreach to underprivileged neighborhoods and markets.


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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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