Access—you can’t get there without it. In the advertising agency business, access has been afforded to the few. The industry is elite by design. The people on the inside ask those on the outside to “break-in,” if they can.
The entire set up is adversarial from the get-go. Yes, there’s talk of a meritocracy for creatives and that’s what it is—talk. In reality, aspiring creatives learn to mimic award-winning work with their own speculative work. And the cost to learn this arcane methodology is steep.
According to Adweek, Miami Ad School charges $38,800 for its two-year portfolio program. Denver Ad School’s $16,000 tuition for its 14-month program is cheaper, but still significant. According to its website, VCU Brandcenter charges $50K for its two-year Master’s program.
Enter ONE School
ONE School will be run by award-winning Spotify creative director Oriel Davis-Lyons, as part of The One Club’s Professional Development programming.
“ONE School will be unapologetically Black from start to finish,” said Davis-Lyons, who before his current role at Spotify held creative positions at R/GA and Droga5 in New York and Colenso BBDO in New Zealand.
“The briefs will be written by Black strategists and taught by Black tutors and lecturers, and the students will be paired with Black mentors in the industry,” he said. “This isn’t about teaching Black creatives how to ‘fit in’ to a mostly white industry. It’s about helping them to build a portfolio that is both creatively excellent and 100% authentic to who they are.”
The free online school will run two nights a week for 16 weeks, with students getting 10 briefs over the course covering everything from OOH to Innovation and Data-Driven Storytelling.
One night of the week will be devoted to guest lectures from top Black creatives, with the second being a two-to-three-hour tutorial run by Davis-Lyons in which students will do a deep dive on different channels, disciplines and the creative process, and get one-on-one reviews of their work.
Later weeks of the course will be devoted to portfolio building, judging by top agency professionals, awarding of the top student portfolios, and job placement. Davis-Lyons said he’s creating the school to remove some of the barriers that often prevent Black talent from breaking into advertising.
The first class at One School will accept just 15 students. The school starts in September and applications are now being accepted.