Talent Advertising Saatchi & Saatchi

There’s a general lack of talent in planning: How an internship scheme from Daniel Marks Planning Academy is shaking up adland

By Dan Matthews, CEO & Founder

Daniel Marks


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December 11, 2018 | 5 min read

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Talent and diversity are the two biggest challenges facing the advertising industry. While there has been some progress, our industry has been somewhat slow when it comes to accelerating these changes. In an attempt to tackle some of these issues, headhunting firm Daniel Marks recently held it’s 2018 Planning Academy Internship Scheme to focus on planning and strategy talent.

Photo taken at The Planning Academy Guinness Presentation

Photo taken at The Planning Academy Guinness Presentation

The idea for the ‘Planning Academy’ came to light in 2014 as Daniel Marks identified four unique issues facing the industry, following on from its work with the IPA and APG, and also from industry feedback. Following is how we can help:

  • General shortage of talent – especially junior and mid-weight planners. Caused in part by the recession period with a lack of hiring throughout this time, but also due to the expansion of planning to all types of creative and media agencies, leaving the talent pool stretched.
  • A lack of diversity in our Industry as highlighted by the IPA. This Academy is open to applicants from all backgrounds and ethnicities and we will actively be encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds be that from underprivileged backgrounds or ethnically diverse backgrounds to apply as an opportunity to join the industry at the grass roots level.
  • Losing out on talent and educating the ‘next generation’. Statistically, advertising and media is one of the most sought after fields for those entering university, but there is a huge drop off rate for graduates upon exit and many people aren’t aware opportunities within planning are even an option. Meanwhile other industries are sweeping up some of the best young minds, we are keen to be promoting the industry and educating about a career in planning and strategy.
  • It is hard to get a start in planning, however, experience is highly coveted. We’re keen to be able to bridge this gap and bring the next generation of planners into the industry. By offering a placement or a mentor, this is providing an opportunity for potential young planners to learn from their peers whilst applying relevant skills including research, insight generation and support to hone their skills and gain experience in this field.

John- Paul Li was one of the lucky 19 finalists chosen to pitch his strategy to position Guinness to a female market. After seeing the advert for the Planning Academy online, he only had a couple of days until the entry deadline. He decided this was more than enough time to prepare. On the day he delivered an incredibly engaging and strong pitch. Li was one of the last people to pitch, he entered the room with energy, passion, character and a great strategy vision. He said “Being allowed to demonstrate how you think to some of the best thinkers in the industry, all in one go, is a mind-blowing opportunity”

The judges were looking for strategy, brand intelligence, creative strategy and a succinct, well thought-out idea. Target Guinness to a market where it is commonly associated as an occasional drink and often consumed in the autumn and winter months, in relation to certain sporting events such as rugby and annual calendar events such as St Patricks Day, by a predominantly male audience.

The outcome of the day was for judges to identify which junior planner they could see themselves working with and fitting into their agency. There was also the promise of a paid internship and expert guidance, mentoring, interview tips, advice, insight and more. As a result, John-Paul Li has been offered a full-time role at Saatchi & Saatchi.

On the day, the judges awarded the Strategic Star award winner to Diamond Abdulrahim. She has since been hired by RAPP.

19 Finalists were successful with 135 meeting requests from over 40 Judges and Agencies involved, including the industry’s most recognised chief strategy officers

Panel included strategy partners, directors and heads of strategy from London’s top agencies and brands

The panel also included strategy partners, directors and heads of strategy from London’s top agencies and brands. Li said “With the increased use of tech like ATS by HR departments, initiatives like this are vitally important. A human can spot the creative potential in someone, whereas AI can’t (yet)”

What the judges say- Daniel Marks
Daniel Marks Planning Academy

Dan Matthews, founder & CEO, Daniel Marks added: “We are proud to be leading the way in introducing fresh and diverse talent into what is one of the most exciting Industries on the planet. We were looking for curious, inquisitive minds and with over 130 meetings requested by the strategic leaders from 40 leading creative agencies, I think we’ve found them! A huge well done to all the Planning Academy Finalists and a heartfelt thank you to all the judges for being involved and bringing this new talent through their doors”.

For more information on the event, please visit http://www.danielmarks.com/planners/

Talent Advertising Saatchi & Saatchi

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