Lucky Generals is aiming to break the middle-class stranglehold on the advertising and marketing industry by launching a scheme which offers free accommodation designed to attract people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and extend the sector’s talent pool.
The move follows growing criticism that the business has become virtually a closed shop for the privileged; all to often new recruits come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds, already live in or can afford to live in London, join from the same few universities or get their job through a friend or relative.
In response, Rapp recently pioneered The Ready Initiative, an apprenticeship scheme designed to give young people who have experienced homelessness a break in agency-land.
Meanwhile, Wunderman Thompson UK launched an offensive against the “pale, male and stale” culture, with a diversity initiative to review culture, policies and infrastructure to best support the needs of LGBTQ+ staff.
However, Lucky Generals is aiming to go further with its new employment scheme, dubbed The Barracks, that targets people looking to begin an agency career by offering them a three-month placement spanning account management, research and insights, creative and production.
Recruits from outside of London will be offered free accommodation in a purposely rented flat (pictured) paid for by the agency, while anyone from within London will have their travel expenses paid. All recruits will be paid their first month in advance to help them settle into their new role.
Lucky Generals, whose clients include Co-op, Zoopla, Amazon, Celebrity Cruises and Yorkshire Tea, has already won praise for its work with the #TimeTo movement.
Agency founder Andy Nairn said: “When I first came down to London, many years ago, accommodation was much cheaper but it’s obviously skyrocketed since then. This makes it really difficult for young people even to get a start in our industry unless they already live in the capital or have wealthy parents. There’s no point talking about diversity if we don’t address some of the deeper-rooted barriers in society, that get in the way. That’s what we’re trying to do with the Barracks.”
Lucky Generals chief executive Katie Lee added: “If everyone thinks the same, come from the same place and has the same experiences, how can we move the industry on and how can we make work that gets us out of our advertising bubble?
“We are making all sorts of changes, such as not incentivising introductions, but with Lucky Barracks we’re trying to make that change one person at a time and signal to anyone thinking of working here that we know what the industry needs to be brilliant and we are trying to remove some of the barriers that stop that talent coming in.”
Areas covered in the role will include creating content, shoot running, creative idea generation, competitive reviews, handling social listening and cultural trends, secret shopping, client entertainment and meeting planning.
However, the Barracks is not just about being thrown in at the deep end. All recruits will be properly supported and trained through the process to ensure anyone with the right aptitude and attitude can shine and succeed, no matter what their background, the agency insists.
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